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Hot for Teacher

April 1st, 2013 - 8:56 am

The Arkansas Supreme Court overturned a law against teacher-student sex:

David Paschal, a former teacher at Elkins High School engaged in a sexual relationship with one of his students in 2010. The student who was 18 years old, alerted authorities of her relationship with Paschal after the two separated.

The former history and psychology instructor was charged with four counts of sexual assault and was sentence to 30 years behind bars.

However, since the student was a legal adult and the sex was consensual, the Arkansas Supreme Court granted Paschal his freedom.

“Regardless of how we feel about Paschal’s conduct, which could correctly be referred to as reprehensible, we cannot abandon our duty to uphold the rule of law when a case presents distasteful facts,” the court said.

Distasteful? Yes. But sex between consenting adults, no matter how icky, can’t be punishable with jail time. I mean, 30 years?

Don’t get me wrong; Paschal should have been fired with extreme prejudice. But striking down this law was the right thing to do.

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All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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Steve, we agree this was a dumb law.

I cannot see how this ruling by the Supremes of Arkansas is anything BUT pure judicial activism.

As an attorney, I don't see any legal rationale for it, outside of pure "we're the super-legislators".

We agree on the outcome. I sure don't agree on the process.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The law criminalized -- and severely -- otherwise legal sexual relations. I'm not sure how that even comes close to passing an Equal Protections sniff test.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...otherwise legal sexual relations"

That right there should be a clue. Laws criminalize conduct. I see no Equal Protection argument whatsoever.

The same legal power that gives states the ability to criminalize statutory rape were the ones called on here...perversely, we agree.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's called "statutory rape" NOT because there's a statute, but because a youth is considered unable to give consent -- hence "rape." And rape is a criminal violation of a person's rights. Unless there's actual abuse, prosecutors can (and do) use a lot of judgement in which cases to prosecute. There's tons of completely harmless "rape" going on, to the benefit (or at least enjoyment) of both parties on or near any high school campus.

But no such situation exists between a student of legal age and a teachers. There's nothing rape about it. There's enough seriously bad judgement on display to get the teacher fired, but that's it.

So, yes, the 14th comes seriously into play, because the only reason it's against the law is the lawmakers thought it was icky.

Which it is. But it's not criminal.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't want to beat this to death, or bump heads with you, but....

I IS statutory rape ONLY because there is a statute.

Your analysis is from the standpoint of someone who agrees with statutory rape laws (which criminalize "otherwise legal sexual relations"), and as a layman I would agree.

"But no such situation exists between a student of legal age and a teacher." Well, we might agree. The legislators thought differently. The argument is that, like a lawyer or doctor, a teacher may have a position that would be (like an adult in a statutory rape context) powerful enough to overcome freely given consent. I think they pushed a bridge too far with the upper limit on age, but there is nothing in legal analysis to show (from your little citation to the story) they had any basis in LAW for their decision.

And lawmakers pass anti-icky laws constantly. They are, if sometimes stupid, perfectly legal. Here, I think the legislators could...maybe did...articulate a compelling interest to protect (though, again, we would agree to disagree with them). Which is the touch-stone of "plenary police powers" review.

If I had the time, I'd look up the decision and paw through it. Maybe I'd find some reason, but I sure don't on these facts...other than "we don't like this".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one, because we're already talking past one another. It's OK. It happens. Even on the internets.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
18 and consenting. A student and a teacher, didn't it fall into sexual harassment? On the other hand, 30 years is too steep, almost as long as Germany's cannibal killer's sentence.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Agreed. He would have served less time if he'd killed her instead of breaking up with her.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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