Laws on child sex abuse in schools

By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 24, 2010; 1:03 AM

State laws pertaining to child sexual abuse in schools vary widely -- from the legal age of consensual sex to the definition of the crime. All states have child abuse legislation, but some make it a distinct crime with harsher penalties if educators or others in a position of authority abuse their trust. Some states also require schools to report to the state licensing agency when a teacher is convicted of a crime or resigns amid allegations of abuse, so their licenses can be reviewed or revoked.

VIRGINIA

Age of consent: 18

*Criminal background checks: Required for employees at public schools and accredited private and parochial schools.

*Position of authority law: Felony to take "indecent liberties with a minor" by a person in a "supervisory relationship."

*School divisions are required to report to the state education department when a teacher is dismissed or resigns due to a criminal conviction or when a teacher is the subject of a founded case of abuse by Child Protective Services.

MARYLAND

Age of consent: 16 for sex, 14 for fondling or other sex acts

* Criminal background checks: Required for employees at public schools, private schools, and parochial schools.

*Position of authority law: Targets those who abuse their "position of authority" by having sexual contact with students; does not cover part-time employees, coaches, or tutors or offenders whose victims attend a different school. Violation is not a felony.

*State requires school officials to report to state education department when an employee is dimissed or resigns after notice of allegations of misconduct.

Washington, D.C.

Age of consent: 16

*Criminal background checks: Required for public school employees. Private and parochial schools are not covered in the law.

*Position of authority law: Felony for a person in "a significant relationship" with a minor to engage in a sexual act with the minor.

*The District does not require schools to report educators who resign amid abuse allegations. Only criminal convictions are reported to the state for license review.


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