FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Reacting to the case of a high school band
teacher accused of having sex with a student, a Kentucky lawmaker
has become the latest state legislator to propose changing a law
governing the age of consent.
J.R. Gray was disturbed to learn that teachers break no criminal
laws by having sex with students, as long as the student is at
least 16 years old and a willing participant.
That scenario played out in Gray's hometown of Benton last month
when a band teacher was accused of having an affair with a teenage
student. Gray, a Democrat from western Kentucky, says he now plans
to file a bill as soon as next week that would make it illegal for
a teacher or anyone else in a position of special trust to have
consensual sex with someone under 18.
"My first reaction was disbelief," Gray said. "It's an
indictment on Kentucky. It's an indictment on the whole country."
Sexual misconduct allegations led states across the country to
take action against the teaching licenses of 2,570 educators from
2001 through 2005. Those were the findings of a seven-month
Associated Press investigation, the results of which were published
last month. Young people were the victims in at least 1,801 of the
cases, and more than 80 percent of those were students.
There are about 3 million public school teachers nationwide.