A former school teacher in the United States who was accused of having sex with one of her male students has now married the student, meaning the charges laid against her have been dismissed.
Baylee A. Turner was charged in February 2019 with having sexual contact with a male pupil at Sarcoxie High School in Missouri after an investigation by the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department.
It is alleged the woman admitted to police she had sexual intercourse with the student at her home in January of the same year.
The 26-year-old English teacher, who had worked at the district’s middle school for two years, was in the middle of her first year of teaching at the high school when the accusations of having sex with the student were made against her.
The student’s name or age have not been disclosed.
Following the allegations, Ms Turner resigned from her position at Sarcoxie School, while the high school’s Board voted to petition the state for her license to be retracted.
However, it turns out that the woman ended up marrying the student, which has now impacted the prosecution of the case.
How Former Teacher Marrying Her Student Impacted the Prosecution of the Case…
According to local news outlet, The Joplin Globe, an assistant prosecutor in the case, Nate Dally, said the charge against Ms Turner was being abandoned in light of the circumstances arising from the pair’s marriage.
Specifically, Mr Dally confirmed that with marital or spousal privilege now applying to the case, the teacher’s former student can no longer be compelled to testify against her, leaving the state’s case exceptionally difficult to prove in court.
Moreover, Ms Turner has surrendered her teaching license, which was of primary concern to the prosecutor’s office in the case.
Ms Turner was facing up to four years in jail for the offence.
According to Missouri state law, sexual contact with a student by a school district employee, volunteer or official, either elected or appointed, regardless of whether the student is a minor or of age for consensual sex, is prohibited.
Ms Turner is not the first young educator in the state to be accused of having sexual relations with a student.
In recent years, another five teachers in Southwest Missouri faced the same allegations.
Meanwhile, the charge was also filed against teachers or student teachers in Joplin, Webb City, Monett, Diamond and McDonald County schools.
Sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of 10 and under 16 years is a serious criminal offence.
In fact, so serious is the offence considered by the courts that severe jail penalties can apply.
If you are in NSW, section 66C of the Crimes Act 1900 prescribes a maximum penalty of 16 years in jail where the child is of or above the age of 10 and under the age of 14.
Where the offence is aggravated, however, the maximum penalty increases to 20 years in jail.
Where the offence involves a child of or above the age of 14 years and under the age of 16 years, a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail is in place.
Where the offence is aggravated, the maximum penalty increases to 12 years in jail.
Aggravated circumstances can include where the alleged offender:
- Where the alleged offender intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on the alleged victim or merely threatens this
- Where the alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons
- Where the alleged offender has the alleged victim under their authority
- Where the alleged victim has a serious physical disability or a cognitive impairment.