What Nevada Law Says About Teacher-Student Sexual Relationships
The teacher-student relationship has been under some scrutiny over the last several years. If you remember the teacher in Washington who made national headlines for having an intimate relationship with her pre-teen student.
She eventually went to prison but ended up having two children with the young man and marrying him after she was released and became a legal adult. This was only one of many teacher-student relationships that have made headlines over recent years.
Teachers used to be seen in a more parental role of the older studious person who had their own children and was married. But times have changed and there are more teachers who are younger and closer in age to their students than their much older peers.
This new younger generation of teachers has caused a new dynamic within the education system where teachers are young enough in age to possibly date or be attracted to the students and vice versa.
In some places, this is not illegal if the student is over the legal age of consent, which depends on the state as each state has different consent laws.
Sexual Conduct Between Teachers and Students in Nevada
NRS 201.540 Prohibits sexual contact between students and their school teachers. It makes no difference if the child is above Nevada’s age of consent (16).
The statute states:
A person who:
- Is 21 years or older:
- Is or was employed by a public or private school in a position of authority or is or was volunteering at a public or private school in a position of authority; and engages in sexual conduct with a pupil who is 16 years of age or older, who has not received a high school diploma, a general educational development certificate or an equivalent document and
- Who is or was enrolled in or attending the public school or private school at which the person is or was employed or volunteering; or
- With whom the person has had contact in the course of performing his or her duties as an employee or volunteer
Is guilty of a category C felony!!
A conviction for NRS 201.540 carries a prison term and can also disgrace the teacher and ruin their career even if they are just charged with the crime, or falsely charged with the crime.
You’ll need a good defense attorney that might be able to negotiate a favorable outcome or have the charges dismissed if it turns out the charges are false.
Is Sex Between Students and Teachers Illegal in Nevada
Nevada forbids the following conduct between school employees, not just teachers, and students:
- Any sexual intercourse
- Any form of oral sexual relations
- Physical contact between a teacher and student of unclothed genital areas or in public for the purpose of sexual gratification
- Penetration of any object into the body of the teacher or student for sexual pleasure
- Masturbation of lewd exhibition
- Sado-masochism of any kind
This law applies to all school employees including teachers aides, coaches, and all other school administrators such as school secretaries. The law does not discriminate between public or private schools; the same laws apply to both.
Volunteers of the school can also be convicted of this crime even after they have stopped volunteering.
It also does not matter whether the student went to the school the teacher worked at, if the teacher had contact with the pupil while performing school duties then they may be guilty of NRS 201. 540.
The only time this law does not apply is when the teacher and student are lawfully married.
Defenses Against the Sexual Conduct Laws for Teachers in Nevada
Like all other crimes there are usually a few common defenses against allegations of having sexual conduct with a student:
- False Accusations– This happens often when a student for example is given a failing grade or is jealous of the teacher or another student. If your attorney can prove that the charges are false then the case should be dismissed. We recommend never being alone with a student at any time.
- Lack of evidence– It is always the prosecutors who need to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If your lawyer can convince the court that the evidence is lacking than the defendant should not be held accountable
- Police Misconduct– Sometimes the whole case can be dismissed over evidence that is obtained through illegal search and seizure. The police must have probable cause or a search warrant to obtain evidence from a person or place. They must have the warrant to retrieve DNA from a person. If the defense team can prove that the police lacked probable cause or a warrant the lawyers can ask the judge for a motion to suppress the evidence making it unusable in court.
Also, note that even being charged with this offense and not convicted can ruin someone’s career. It is not just a felony but is also considered a moral crime.
You’ll need to get this dismissed or the charges dropped as soon as possible to avoid having your career and reputation permanently blemished.
Even if the victim is the aggressor in the relationship, it is still a felony on the part of the teacher or adult in this situation because of their age and or position.
What Are the Consequences
Sexual conduct as defined is subject to the following penalties as a class C felony:
- 1-5 years in prison
- Up to a $10,000 fine
- You must register as a tier II sex offender
- Lifetime supervision from either probation or parole departments, if you are never convicted of another crime you may be able to get off of supervision after a period of 10 years
Charges can be added or changed based on the facts of the case and the D.A may choose to bring additional charges like:
- Sexual assault- ( NRS.200.366) If the child is under 13 then the punishment is life in prison. If the child is unharmed physically then the defendant may be able to be released after 25 years
- Lewd Conduct with a child under 16 (NRS.201.230)- This is also punishable by life in prison. Prior offenses will reduce someone’s chance for parole.
- Statutory rape (NRS200.368) -Even if the relationship was considered “consensual,“ a minor cannot consent and the teacher is guilty under the law because they were the teacher. This carries a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
School workers who are charged with taking advantage of their students face other penalties like civil lawsuits by the victims and their families.
The school will terminate their employment or suspend them until the case is resolved and usually even if the teacher gets the charges dropped the job will not be instated.
Arrested? We Can Help
If you are a teacher or school administrator who has been accused or arrested for sexual misconduct with a student you need to hire an experienced defense team right away.
Call The Defenders for a case review.
Everything you tell us is confidential.
We may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed based on evidence.
We will go to trial to fight the charges against you. Having been charged with a felony against a child can result in prison time, fines, and having to register as a sex offender.
Having to register as a sex offender can ruin your life, and keep you from gainful employment or getting a home or apartment. People who have been forced to register as sex offender causes the person personal security and some have been harmed or killed by others who don’t want them in the neighborhood.
If you have been charged with this crime contact The Defenders today for a free consultation. This is a serious offense that has a lifetime of repercussions so call today. We have many years of experience in the Las Vegas criminal justice system. We know the judges, prosecutors, and court procedures of Clark county.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a teacher be in a relationship with a student?
No, it is considered a felony for any adult such as a teacher or school employee to have any kind of sexual relationship. The only exception to this is the teacher and student are legally married.
What are the penalties for this crime?
The penalties include prison time up to 5 years, fines up to $10,000 and having to register as a sex offender. The teacher will also be terminated from the school district.
What happens if a teacher is caught having a relationship with a student?
The teacher will be arrested, charged and tried for criminal sexual conduct as a class C felony. Additionally, the school district will terminate the teacher and civil lawsuits may also be filed against them by the victim or their family.
What are related crimes?
Related charges that the D.A may choose to bring include sexual assault, lewd conduct with a child under 16 and statutory rape. These offenses carry varying prison sentences, as well as fines.
Do school workers face other penalties besides criminal charges?
Yes, they do. School workers who are charged with taking advantage of their students may also face civil lawsuits by the victims and their families, in addition to termination or suspension from their job.
What can I do if I am accused of this crime?
You should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. There may be evidence that could help reduce or dismiss your charges depending on the facts of the case. An experienced lawyer can review your case and advise you on the best course of action.
It is important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty so don’t give up hope. With the right legal team, you can fight these charges and ultimately clear your name. Call The Defenders today for a free consultation. We can help you get through this challenging time in your life.