Sex crimes involving minors can often be a touchy and shameful subject. Nevertheless, being charged with sexual misconduct with an underage student will lead to serious consequences. Just recently, a Richmond teacher was charged with sexually assaulting an underage student at Huguenot High School. The teacher faced felony charges for misconduct in a supervisory role. If convicted of sexual misconduct with underage students, you will most likely lose your job, and potentially face jail time. Your name may also be entered into the registry of sex offenders, which will negatively affect future employment and housing options. The right Virginia sex crimes defense attorney can protect your rights against the most serious of these charges.
What is Sexual Misconduct?
Under Virginia Code §18.2-370.1, it is illegal for an adult, who is at least 18 years of age and maintains a custodial or supervisory position, to take “indecent liberties” with a child under the age of 18. Typically, a supervisory relationship refers to a relationship with a teacher, unrelated guardian, employer, or caretaker. It is illegal for the adult to:
- Knowing and intentionally propose that the child feel or fondle the sexual or genital parts of the adult
- Propose to such child the performance of an act of sexual intercourse or any act with lascivious intent
- Expose his or her sexual or genital parts to the child
- Propose that the child expose his or her sexual or genital parts to the adult
- Propose to the child to engage in sexual intercourse, sodomy or fondling of sexual or genital parts with another person
- Sexually abuse the child in any way
If you are found guilty of sexual misconduct with an underage student, you can potentially face a Class 6 Felony. In addition, you can face a Class 5 Felony for conducting indecent liberties with a student younger than 15 years of age. Virginia law also considers having sexual intercourse with a child younger than 13 as rape, regardless of consent.
In addition, under Virginia Code §8.2-374.3, it is a crime to propose an act listed in 370.1 using an electronic device. In other words, it is a crime to proposition a minor (or a cop posing as a minor) using a phone or computer.
Penalties for Sex Crimes Involving Minors in Virginia
Sex crimes involving minors in Virginia can result in severe penalties. Depending on the situation, you may be convicted of the following:
- Class 4 Felony: maximum of 10 years in prison, with fines up to $100,000
- Class 5 Felony: maximum of 10 years in prison, with fines up to $2,500
- Class 6 Felony: maximum of five years in prison, with fines up to $2,500
Because of the serious nature of sex crimes against minors, the prosecutor will likely want to deliver a harsh sentence. This is especially true when there is evidence of intent to cause harm to a child. Even when there is established consent, Virginia law seeks to punish any type of sexual relationship between a teacher and a student under 18 years of age.
How a Virginia Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Can Help
Being accused of sexual misconduct with underage students can turn into a long, scary ordeal. The accusations may or may not be true, but you will still have to go through a taxing legal process. It is important to have a compassionate and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney by your side to defend your rights in the court of law.
Contact the experienced Roanoke criminal defense attorneys at Coperhaver, Ellett, & Derrico today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. You should meet with a skilled Virginia sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible at (540) 343-9349 to secure the legal representation that you need.