MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The state Senate Education Committee quickly passed on Tuesday bills dealing with child sexual abuse and child sexual violence prevention.
SB 187 creates a new felony for any public or private school teacher, principal, counselor, coach, or other employee to engage in sexual intercourse, sexual intrusion, or sexual contact with any student regardless of the student’s age. Student consent, or occurrence of the act off of school property or outside of a school function do not qualify as defenses.
The crime carries a penalty of 1-5 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. Conviction also mandates forfeiture of any teaching or other certificate.
The bill has bipartisan sponsorship. Committee vice chair Charles Clements, R-Wetzel, is lead sponsor and said the county prosecutor there approached him about the bill because of two teachers who were involved in relationships with students. They students were over 18 so the prosecutor had no means to bring a case…