It seems as though the conduct of many teachers steps outside the boundaries of traditional student-teacher relationships. A 46-year-old teacher at Hartford High School, about 30 minutes outside Kalamazoo, allegedly crossed the line and has been accused of criminal sexual conduct with a 15-year-old student.
The school board was in favor of firing the long-time history teacher after his supposed inappropriate relationship with the student was disclosed. However, because the teacher is under tenure, he has the right to go through a hearing with the tenure commission, who will decide his fate. The hearing is set for Feb. 8. The teacher is currently on paid leave until a final decision is made.
In addition to the hearing about this man's job, the Hartford Police Department is currently investigating this as a criminal case. Michigan has a criminal sexual conduct law that prohibits teachers from having a sexual relationship with a student under the age of 18. Although the state's age of consent is 16-years-old, the age of consent is 18-years-old when an authority figure is involved -- such as a teacher.
Because the teacher had a sexual relationship with someone under the age of consent, he could potentially face statutory rape charges, even if the student consented. Because a 15-year-old girl cannot legally give consent, the teacher can be accused of criminal sexual conduct, even if force was not involved.
If the teacher is convicted of criminal sexual conduct, the charges can vary from a simple misdemeanor or a serious felony. Charges for sex crimes involve several factors, including the victim's age, the age difference between the parties involved and whether or not the offender has a criminal history, especially in regards to sex crimes.