In June, a Mount Clemens high school teacher, who recently resigned, was charged for having sex with one of her 17-year-old male students. Former teacher, Rachael Smith, faces three charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor.
News reports indicate the following, which may or not be true. In May, rumors spread around the high school that a student and a teacher were having sex with each other, and the school alerted the authorities. According to the investigating detective, Smith pursued the student and they engaged in sex on three separate occasions at her home. They also consumed alcohol together. The detective also believes the two allegedly had a relationship with each other that eventually turned sexual. There were also suspicions that certain incidents happened within the school, however, these events were unable to be confirmed.
Smith is currently awaiting a probable cause hearing on the charges.
The age of consent for sexual acts in Michigan is 16 years old. Though the student in this case was 17 years old at the time the sexual acts occurred, teacher and student sexual relations are specially covered by statute. MCL 750.520d is the statute that covers third-degree criminal sexual conduct offenses and includes a portion specifically aimed at teacher/student sexual acts. The statute states: "The other person is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school and . . . the actor is a teacher . . ." This portion of the statute basically waives the age of consent when the acts take place between a teacher and a student, even if the student consented to the sexual activity.
Third degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. In addition, the former teacher would have to register with the sex offender registry for life, and she will more than likely lose her teaching license.
The Law Offices of Shannon M. Smith is familiar in defending teachers who are accused of having sexual and romantic relationships with students. We also have experience in defending coaches and other school employees accused of the same. In some circumstances, allegations made against teachers and coaches turn out to be false. Sometimes, students take something, such as a misconstrued text message or social media message from a teacher, and run with it, which causes rumors to spread and investigations to start. As a teacher, it is always best to keep contact with students school related and professional, however, we realize that sometimes that's not always possible. If you or a loved one are facing charges of criminal sexual conduct and the charges involve a student, contact our office for a consultation.