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Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student

Texas enacted a statute in 2003 that made it a felony offense for any employee of any given school district to have sex with any student in that district, regardless of that student’s age. In 2011, the law was amended to include students who attended any school in the employee’s district—even when students are 18 years of age or older.

In the Information Age, minors have far more access to teachers through electronic communication and various social media platforms. All too often, concerned parents or possibly even other students can misinterpret online communications between educators and students, leading to possible complaints and investigations into allegedly improper relationships when there was no actual misconduct.

Attorney for Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student in Dallas, TX

Are you a teacher in North Texas who was arrested or might be under investigation for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student? Do not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy as soon as possible.

Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Dallas who represent clients accused of sexual offenses in Grand Prairie, Irving, Garland, Balch Springs, Richardson, Carrolton, Mesquite, and many surrounding communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Call (972) 233-5700 to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


Dallas County Improper Educator-Student Relationship Information Center


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Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student Penalties in Texas

Texas Penal Code § 21.12(a) makes it a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for an employee of a public or private primary or secondary school to:

  • Engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school at which the employee works;
  • Hold a certificate or permit issued by the State Board for Educator Certification or be required to be licensed by a state agency  under the Texas Education Code and engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a person the employee knows is enrolled in a public primary or secondary school in the same school district as the school at which the employee works, or a student participant in an educational activity that is sponsored by a school district or a public or private primary or secondary school, if students enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school are the primary participants in the activity and the employee provides education services to those participants; or
  • Engage in online solicitation of a minor with a person the employee knows is a person enrolled in a public primary or secondary school in the same school district as the school at which the employee works, or a student participant in an educational activity that is sponsored by a school district or a public or private primary or secondary school, if students enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school are the primary participants in the activity and the employee provides education services to those participants.

Texas Penal Code § 21.02 provides the following definitions relating to this statute:

  • Deviate Sexual Intercourse — Any contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person, or the penetration of the genitals or the anus of another person with an object.
  • Sexual Contact — Any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
  • Sexual Intercourse — Any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.

Improper relationship between educator and student is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.


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Dallas Improper Teacher-Student Relationship Defenses

Under Texas Penal Code § 21.12(b-1), alleged offenders can present certain affirmative defenses when prosecuted for improper relationship between educator and student. An affirmative defense allows an alleged offender to admit to otherwise prohibited conduct without being criminally liable if he or she:

  • Was the spouse of the enrolled student at the time of the alleged offense; or
  • Was not more than three years older than the enrolled student and, at the time of the offense, the alleged offender and the enrolled student were in a relationship that began before the alleged offender was hired by the public or private primary or secondary school.

Some cases involve accusations that are exaggerated or simply false. A criminal defense lawyer can always look for inconsistencies in an alleged victim’s statements or other flaws that can result in criminal charges being minimized or eliminated.


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Texas Resources for Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student

Find Texas teachers accused of impropriety with a student — The Austin American-Statesman requested the names of teachers from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) who surrendered their teaching licenses or whose licenses were revoked after being investigated by the TEA for engaging in an improper relationship with a student. The newspaper then analyzed thousands of records included in government databases and media reports to determine the names of teachers who were charged and ran criminal background checks on those teachers through the Texas Department of Public Safety. You can use this website to search for teachers by name or by district.

Collins v. State, (App. 11 Dist. 2015) 479 S.W.3d 533 — April Collins was charged by indictment with four counts of improper relationship between educator and student, but the Eleventh Court of Appeals dismissed three of those counts in November 2015 after the court, following the rationale of the Court of Criminal Appeals in See Ex parte Lo, 424 S.W.3d 10, 14 (Tex.Crim.App.2013), held that Texas Penal Code § 21.12(a)(3) is unconstitutionally broad insofar as it incorporates the unconstitutionally broad Texas Penal Code § 33.021(b) relating to online solicitation of a minor. The Court wrote, “A statute is impermissibly overbroad if, in addition to proscribing activities that may be constitutionally prohibited, its sweeping coverage also proscribes speech or conduct that is protected by the First Amendment. Bynum v. State, 767 S.W.2d 769, 772 (Tex.Crim.App.1989).”


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Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Dallas Improper Teacher-Student Relationship Defense Lawyer

If you are teacher in North Texas who might be under investigation or has already been arrested for an alleged improper relationship with a student, it will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy defends individuals all over the greater Dallas County area, including Denton, Lewisville, Plano, McKinney, Frisco, Allen, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, and many others.

Dallas criminal defense attorneys Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties. They can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call (972) 233-5700 or complete an online contact form to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.


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