WV Civil Rights Lawyer

Police Misconduct, Civil Rights Law

Mercer County Teacher Charged With Sexual Abuse- Illustrates Abuse of the Law

From the Charleston Daily Mail:

A Montcalm High School teacher accused of having a relationship with a student faces sexual abuse and abduction charges.

State Police First Sgt. Gary Tincher says 30-year-old Christi Lee Williams was arrested in late April.

Williams remains free on bond after being charged with sexual abuse by a parent, custodian and guardian and abduction of a student within 1,000 feet of a school.

Tincher says Williams is accused of having a relationship with a 16-year-old male student who allegedly left school property with her.

Tincher says the teacher has been suspended from her job.

What is the deal with young, attractive teachers across the country having these sexual relationships with young boys? I can’t remember hearing anything like this when I was in high school – other than in a Van Halen song.

Let’s look at the charges: First, abduction of a student within 1,000 feet of a school. Okay, that charge is garbage. The kid was 16 – old enough to drive, and actually 16 is the age of consent. The allegations are that he went willingly. Prosecutors and legislators can make up whatever law and charges they want, but the fact is that there was no abduction. This is just a garbage charge to help them get a plea.

Secondly, sexual abuse by a parent guardian or custodian. This is the most abused and misused charge on the books. The reason is this: in almost every situation, like it or not, the legal age of consent in West Virginia is 16 years old. That means that ignoring relationships, this 16 year old kid can have sexual relations with whomever he wants. However, if there is a relationship, then all of a sudden the other party goes to prison for 10 to 20 years. That’s right, that is the punishment for this charge (something that you are not allowed to tell the jury). So, if the prosecutor alleges the other party is a babysitter, teacher, whatever – even if the kid is 16 or 17 and has his own car and drives all over the place, it then becomes punishable by 10 to 20 years. This is an abuse of the law. The charge was meant to cover awful situations where parents or actual guardians abuse children under their care. The problem is that the statute was written much to broadly, thus allowing police and prosectors to abuse it. For instance, this woman is facing 10 to 20 on that charge. Under the statute, technically, she can be convicted on it. The jury never gets to know that she will get 10 to 20. They will assume she will get probation, or maybe 6 months or a year. She will get convicted on the charge, despite the unfairness of it. The end result is, that her lawyer will most likely advise her not to take the chance of going to trial, and to accept the plea offer of misdemeanor battery with a sexual motivation, or something like that, which will put her in jail for a year and make her a registered sex offender for life.

Read the full article here.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.

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May 7, 2008 - Posted by | Children, Juries, Legislation, Plea Agreements, Police, Prosecutors, Sex Crimes, Sex Offender Registration

2 Comments »

  1. I completely agree that 16 is the age of consent and thus whether or not a person is older is ridiculous. I also agree that legislatures and lawyers that make and enforce laws limiting somone who can drop out of school legally, drive wherever he or she wants to go, is crazy.

    However you probably should have specified what that law is in wv. Age of consent in wv is defined as 16 as long as there is not more than 2 years of difference in age. So saying the charge is garbage just to get a plea is really only a half truth because it like the other charge is valid in wv. Whether right or wrong.

    Comment by ThetruthaboutWv | October 21, 2008 | Reply

  2. Actually, 16 is the age of consent in West Virginia, regardless of the age difference. The 2 year requirement only applies to persons under the age of 16. For instance, a 15 year old person could be with a 17 year old – but not an 18 year old. The only catch is that other laws could be broken. If there is some type of arguably custodial relationship between the two, then that triggers “sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian (10 to 20 year sentence), or if pictures or video were taken – which would be illegal if one party is under 18 (10 year mandatory federal sentence).

    Comment by johnbryanlaw | October 21, 2008 | Reply


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