In Missouri, a teacher, school employee or similar person who works with children at a school may face criminal charges under Missouri Revised Statutes § 566.086 for "sexual contact with a student." These are serious matters, as such an offense is classified as a class D felony and is punishable by up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Sexual contact with a student is also an offense for which a defendant may face mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender.
Let's take a closer look at these charges, what they mean and who may be charged. According to § 566.086, "A person commits the crime of sexual contact with a student if he or she has sexual contact with a student of the public school" and if the person is:
- A teacher;
- A student teacher;
- A school employee (coach, counselor, etc.);
- Volunteer at the school;
- Public school district official; or
- Is employed by a company that provides services to the public school district.
Sexual contact has a specific definition under Missouri law, and may be described as any touching of another person with one's genitals or touching another person's genitals, anus or breast, including touching through the clothing – for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal. Under this definition, mere touching constitutes sexual contact, even if further conduct does not take place.
Sex crime charges of this kind present serious problems for a teacher, coach or other accused individual. Immediate job suspension is likely, even during a pending investigation. If the school believes such allegations are well-founded or if they are proven, the accused will most certainly lose his or her job. Then there is the matter of imprisonment, which may last for up to four years for an isolated incident. If a teacher or other school employee is found guilty of multiple counts of sexual contact with a student, an increased term of imprisonment will likely apply.
When your reputation, career and future are on the line due to sex offense allegations, it is time to take immediate action. Call a St. Louis sex crime defense lawyer at The Hammer Law Firm for experienced insight that applies to your unique case. With our aggressive approach to criminal defense and our commitment to protecting our clients' constitutional rights to the fullest extent, no matter the nature or severity of their charges, we provide the level of legal representation that is necessary in these serious cases. We can address all pertinent issues related to your case, fielding overzealous law enforcement personnel and prosecutors and even handling any media attention that may arise.
Call our firm today and get your questions answered and concerns addressed.