Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

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Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Thesh » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:32 am UTC

Texas Teacher sentenced to 5 years in jail for sex with adult students

Spoiler:
A Texas high school teacher and mother of three was sentenced today to five years behind bars after a jury found her guilty of having sex with five male students, four of whom she had group sex with while being videotaped.

Brittni Colleps, 28, a former English teacher, was convicted of 16 counts of having improper relationships with students. Since the young men were all 18 at the time, she was not charged with statutory rape.


Seriously? Jail time for consensual sex with adults? I can see getting fired over that, but what the fuck does jail accomplish? She won't commit the "crime" again because she won't be able to teach again, so rehabilitation isn't an issue. Outside of her job, there is absolutely nothing wrong with what she did, so she doesn't deserve any further punishment.

Complete bullshit.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Elvish Pillager » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:11 am UTC

I agree that it's a bad decision, and the law probably exists mostly because people think that being grossed out by something is a good reason to give jail time for it, BUT I also think that someone could legitimately make this law in order to protect people from coercive relationships, since, after all, a teacher is usually in a position of power over a student, which can easily be abused in lots of ways.

It's essentially the same justification as age-of-consent laws. (I happen to be skeptical of both, for reasons that I get into in detail on my blog.)

I think it's weird that the article didn't say how the video came to exist. And there's also this line:
"I don't want to see her do jail time, probation is enough for me," said the man. He said he felt responsible for what had happened to Colleps.

So one student says she should be punished for something, although not so harshly. There's a bunch of missing information here.

Also, when I saw the phrase "English teacher", my first thought was "Huh, this is in Texas, right? But the teacher is English?" That particular ambiguity must be pretty terrible for teachers who actually are English.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Jahoclave » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:21 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Texas Teacher sentenced to 5 years in jail for sex with adult students

Spoiler:
A Texas high school teacher and mother of three was sentenced today to five years behind bars after a jury found her guilty of having sex with five male students, four of whom she had group sex with while being videotaped.

Brittni Colleps, 28, a former English teacher, was convicted of 16 counts of having improper relationships with students. Since the young men were all 18 at the time, she was not charged with statutory rape.


Jail time for consensual sex with adults? .

That's exactly what she wasn't put into jail for or even charged with. It has everything to do with that kind of a relationship with a student being illegal. Your own quote points that out.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Thesh » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:25 am UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:BUT I also think that someone could legitimately make this law in order to protect people from coercive relationships, since, after all, a teacher is usually in a position of power over a student, which can easily be abused in lots of ways.


There are a lot of positions of power. Boss, subordinate. Police officer/Mayor/Governor/President, citizen. If you are selectively criminalizing one over the other, then that probably is just an excuse rather than a reason.

Jahoclave wrote:That's exactly what she wasn't put into jail for or even charged with. It has everything to do with that kind of a relationship with a student being illegal. Your own quote points that out.


She is going to jail because the law says that in certain circumstances, consensual sex with adults is a crime. Therefore, she is going to jail for having consensual sex with adults.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Elvish Pillager » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:30 am UTC

Thesh wrote:
Elvish Pillager wrote:BUT I also think that someone could legitimately make this law in order to protect people from coercive relationships, since, after all, a teacher is usually in a position of power over a student, which can easily be abused in lots of ways.


There are a lot of positions of power. Boss, subordinate. Police officer/Mayor/Governor/President, citizen. If you are selectively criminalizing one over the other, then that probably is just an excuse rather than a reason.

Well, yes. I'm assuming it's an excuse. On the other hand, you can't exactly make a law that criminalizes sex within all forms of power-differential relationships, since then you'd be banning all sex ever, and eventually some legislator would realize that, even if they had entered the process with honest intentions. So it would be logical, from a certain perspective, to stick with just a few power differentials you find most egregious.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Thesh » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:36 am UTC

Or you could just make it illegal to abuse your power to pressure someone into having sex they don't want. But, no, let's worry about the edge cases and throw people in jail who had harmed no one, just in case.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Jahoclave » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:39 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Or you could just make it illegal to abuse your power to pressure someone into having sex they don't want. But, no, let's worry about the edge cases and throw people in jail who had harmed no one, just in case.

Actually, I am kind of glad they do make this sort of relationship illegal. As someone who has taught, I am rather aware of just how easy something like this could happen even without coercion. It even helps protect the teacher.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Djehutynakht » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:19 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Thesh wrote:Or you could just make it illegal to abuse your power to pressure someone into having sex they don't want. But, no, let's worry about the edge cases and throw people in jail who had harmed no one, just in case.

Actually, I am kind of glad they do make this sort of relationship illegal. As someone who has taught, I am rather aware of just how easy something like this could happen even without coercion. It even helps protect the teacher.


Yeah, but Jail-time is ridiculous. Even making it illegal is ridiculous. I would think that the most severe punishment, reasonably, should be getting fired.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby yurell » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:57 am UTC

Isn't there a duty of care for high school students? I seem to recall a few teachers (male & female) receiving jail time for relationships with adult school students.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Thesh » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:02 am UTC

yurell wrote:I seem to recall a few teachers (male & female) receiving jail time for relationships with adult school students.


Can you find any of these stories? This is the first time I've heard about it for adult students, although it has happened before for underage students (and in cases of actual rape).
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby yurell » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:19 am UTC

I'm looking, but having difficulties. Found one where the woman was fired, but the grand jury found her not guilty because of insufficient evidence, and another (Heather Shelton) who's had a felony charge levied against her for sex with a 19 yr old student (I can't find what became of that), another where they've been indicted by a grand jury, but the trial hasn't happened yet afaik. (Edit: okay, that was 2008; no idea what the outcome was, couldn't find it).

So I can't find any references of teachers that have been imprisoned; maybe my memory's faulty, or maybe it's just swamped by noise from the latest scandal. I do know, though, that there's a law some states of the US (and probably elsewhere, I'm rather ignorant of this topic) that make any sexual relations between a teacher and a school student illegal.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Tirian » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:36 am UTC

Here is an interesting analysis of the law. tl;dr: The legislator who originally wrote the statute capped the age of students at 17, but amendments took the age limit out entirely without raising it. Looking over the statute, I am at least relieved to see that it only applies to primary and secondary schools.

It would seem from that first link that prosecutors and juries in Texas are sympathetic to "mild" breaches of this law. I'm neither surprised nor alarmed that a videotaped orgy did not generate that sort of mercy.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby fifiste » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:42 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:Actually, I am kind of glad they do make this sort of relationship illegal. As someone who has taught, I am rather aware of just how easy something like this could happen even without coercion. It even helps protect the teacher.


So you are afraid that non-coerced mutually consenting sex between adults might happen? We should have jail punishment to avoid thing like this?

edit: and they would be "protected" because if something like this happened they or their lover would be put to jail?

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Coyne » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:39 am UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:
Thesh wrote:
Elvish Pillager wrote:BUT I also think that someone could legitimately make this law in order to protect people from coercive relationships, since, after all, a teacher is usually in a position of power over a student, which can easily be abused in lots of ways.


There are a lot of positions of power. Boss, subordinate. Police officer/Mayor/Governor/President, citizen. If you are selectively criminalizing one over the other, then that probably is just an excuse rather than a reason.

Well, yes. I'm assuming it's an excuse. On the other hand, you can't exactly make a law that criminalizes sex within all forms of power-differential relationships, since then you'd be banning all sex ever, and eventually some legislator would realize that, even if they had entered the process with honest intentions. So it would be logical, from a certain perspective, to stick with just a few power differentials you find most egregious.


It's more fundamental than that, because certain types of power relationships aren't--can't be--fully consensual. Teacher/student, psychiatrist/patient, doctor/patient, lawyer/accused, police/citizen; all of these imply such power relationships.

Trying not to be to crude, but as a brutal example suppose a police officer suggests that "he" will overlook a marijuana cigarette if the "woman" citizen consents to a sexual act. Would anyone really suggest that the woman's so-called "consent" to the sexual act is not coerced?

In these type of relationships (which, yes, include boss/employee relationships) there is an element of coercion that endangers the consensual interpretation of such acts. There are degrees of such relationships, of course, and anyone who suggests that the police/citizen relationship should be treated the same as a boss/worker relationship, is one of those people that has trouble with shades of gray.

Of course, the teacher would claim she didn't take advantage of that power, but I doubt her. Suppose just for the sake of the argument that one of the boys was gay: Does anyone think it likely that boy might have felt coerced to do something he didn't want to do, by her power in the relationship? Of course he would have, and therein lies the wrong. Even if every boy (being boys) consented willingly, that willing consent does not make her act right.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby LtNOWIS » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:54 am UTC

Yeah, even if the 2 individuals involved are ok with this, they operate in a larger context of a school environment. It's detrimental to the rest of the students and the school as a whole.

More importantly, such a relationship is inherently coercive. The state can't stop every coercive relationship, but it can criminalize it in schools, since that's the domain of government.

If Texas wants to come down hard on this kind of unprofessional behavior, I'm ok with it.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Elvish Pillager » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:26 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:It's more fundamental than that,

More fundamental than what? I don't see any inconsistencies between the post you quoted and what you're saying now.

Coyne wrote:because certain types of power relationships aren't--can't be--fully consensual. Teacher/student, psychiatrist/patient, doctor/patient, lawyer/accused, police/citizen; all of these imply such power relationships.

Hang on. You're saying that a police officer can never have sex with someone who isn't a police officer? That sounds like a recipe for disaster, given the big gender imbalances that still exist in police forces and the fact that most people are heterosexual.

I agree that those are all examples of power relationships that can impair consent. Andrea Dworkin has written that male/female is another such power relationship, and I can't exactly disagree with that. To put it simply, shit's fucked.

Having a healthy relationship implies figuring out how to make sure that all participants are there willingly, free to leave if they want, and having their needs respected by the others, despite the power imbalance that exists between any two people in our fucked-up society.

The law, on the other hand, is a very blunt instrument that can't really tell anything about how consent was negotiated. So if you want to set up a threshold of power difference above which relationships are illegal, it's just a matter of deciding where you think that threshold should be set, and what the acceptable ratio between "coercive relationships discouraged by the law" and "consensual relationships resulting in jail time" is. (Because, let's face it, lots of people will have these relationships regardless of whether they're legal.)

Coyne wrote:Trying not to be to crude, but as a brutal example suppose a police officer suggests that "he" will overlook a marijuana cigarette if the "woman" citizen consents to a sexual act. Would anyone really suggest that the woman's so-called "consent" to the sexual act is not coerced?

This example does not support your position at all: If I offer not to punch someone in exchange for them performing a sexual act, that's coercion too, and you don't need to be a police officer to do that.

Coyne wrote:Suppose just for the sake of the argument that one of the boys was gay:

What would that have to do with it? Gay people sometimes, of their own will, have sex with people of other genders. And non-gay people very often refuse sex with people of other genders. You might as well say--
Coyne wrote:Even if every boy (being boys) consented willingly,

--oh. You DID say that male people essentially will always agree to sex with female people unless they're gay. Fuck. That. Shit.

Next time, you can just say "suppose one of the boys didn't actually want it", which both makes your point more clear and avoids promoting bullshit stereotypes.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby DavidH » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:41 pm UTC

You're trolling if you think teachers should be allowed to have sex with students. Think about a male student who was in his last year of school in a place like Ontario where final year grades dictate what University program you get in to. If a teacher who was grading you made advances on you and you knew everyone would dismiss your complaints because you're male, you would feel as though you had to go along with it or not get the grades.

That, of course, is rape. It's so hard to draw the line of consensual versus not consensual in strong power relationships that we ban the ones we can.

And police officers can have sex with non police officers, just not ones they're dealing with professionally. Just like teachers can have sex with people who are 18 and don't go to their school. Just like therapists can have sex with people who aren't their patients. Just like doctors can have sex with people whose family members don't need surgery. Don't build a strawman here.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Elvish Pillager » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:32 pm UTC

DavidH wrote:You're trolling if you think teachers should be allowed to have sex with students.

That's backwards. If I think that there are circumstances under which it's okay for teachers and students to have sex with each other, then I'm arguing what I believe. If, on the other hand, I don't think that but am arguing for it anyway, then I am trolling. However, I actually believe that.

And you've successfully given an example of an instance in which teacher/student sex is definitely wrong. So what? In your example, the teacher is not behaving in a way that ensures consent is freely given, and I hope I was clear about the fact that my main criterion for whether a relationship is okay is whether the participants negotiated consent effectively. (In some situations, that's impossible, which would mean that I would never think sex is okay in those situations. However, I don't believe that every possible student/teacher relationship makes effective consent negotiations impossible.)

(How to handle the specific situation? The teacher should make it very clear that the student's choice won't affect his grades. If the teacher has built a reputation for being impartial and the student trusts zem, there's no coercion. If the teacher has any reason to suspect that the student doesn't trust that, finalize grades before making a move. If the teacher already had a reputation for accepting bribes or giving in to emotional appeals, ze's kind of a douchebag and needs to do something about that before having sex with anyone)

DavidH wrote:And police officers can have sex with non police officers, just not ones they're dealing with professionally. Just like teachers can have sex with people who are 18 and don't go to their school. Just like therapists can have sex with people who aren't their patients. Just like doctors can have sex with people whose family members don't need surgery. Don't build a strawman here.

Well, I believed (and still believe) that that's what Coyne was actually saying. Unlike the other examples, if a police officer doesn't often travel outside of their jurisdiction, everyone they meet is someone they may very well end up interacting with professionally. If Coyne is not actually saying that, ze is free to correct me, whereupon we can proceed with that little misunderstanding cleared up.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Zamfir » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:06 pm UTC

I's not just power over grades etc that makes teacher-student relations problematic. It's fairly common for students to develop a crush for a teacher, and given the difference in experience, a teacher can steer a related in from there. I think Jahoclave above alluded to something like that.

It's a very peculiar social context, with a built-in message that teachers are special people whose approval students have to seek. Different people react different on that context, and for many the message becomes a bit ingrained. If they like a teacher, then attention and approval from that teacher feels very good, on more than just school subjects.

for some, that develops to sexual attraction. And given the number of students a teacher gets, a lot of them will at some point be in a position where they could move from there to actual sex. No grade manipulation involved, the possibility is almost built into the context.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Elvish Pillager » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

I think we all agree that teacher-student relationships have many possible nasty pitfalls.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Coyne » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:38 pm UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:
Coyne wrote:Even if every boy (being boys) consented willingly,

--oh. You DID say that male people essentially will always agree to sex with female people unless they're gay. Fuck. That. Shit.

Next time, you can just say "suppose one of the boys didn't actually want it", which both makes your point more clear and avoids promoting bullshit stereotypes.


Point taken; mea culpa.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Jahoclave » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:45 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I's not just power over grades etc that makes teacher-student relations problematic. It's fairly common for students to develop a crush for a teacher, and given the difference in experience, a teacher can steer a related in from there. I think Jahoclave above alluded to something like that.

It's a very peculiar social context, with a built-in message that teachers are special people whose approval students have to seek. Different people react different on that context, and for many the message becomes a bit ingrained. If they like a teacher, then attention and approval from that teacher feels very good, on more than just school subjects.

for some, that develops to sexual attraction. And given the number of students a teacher gets, a lot of them will at some point be in a position where they could move from there to actual sex. No grade manipulation involved, the possibility is almost built into the context.

Exactly, and laws like this keeps it from being a legal grey area. It's not just a you'll get fired thing and it removes any sort of different standards within the school based on age. As for the police, it's not non-police, but somebody within police "custody" in a loose term. Are you meeting the officer in terms of the administration of his/her job where he/she has power in the situation. Such that, if hypothetical a cop can't ask for a date while writing a ticket, but if you meet in a bar while the cop is not doing his/her job it's okay. The difference is, with a student, until they graduate they're still a student even outside of school.

Teachers are also, unfortunately, a captive audience as well. I can't just well tell a student asking me questions about things related to their education to fuck off. And there are those students who, unfortunately, aren't used to having positive social contact. Which, is really damn annoying when you have to pee after teaching a 75 minute class.

And honestly, if teenagers and young adults weren't annoying, hormonal, unadjusted dullards, this kind of relation would probably happen a hell of a lot more often.

This is also why you're seeing terribly written laws about facebook and social media. One of the reasons I think teachers should get two facebook pages. Their private one and one the school has access to. That way the benefits of social media can be used, but with the ability to provide oversight and not violate a teachers personal privacy. As to the benefits of social media in education I'm not sure.

And Elvish: the problem is your insistent that there is ever a situation where it can be 100% consensual between a teacher/student. And as to your other examples, welcome to no way in hell to prove it. It comes back to the only way to win is not to play. Thus, it's never an okay situation. If a teacher just absolutely must boing a student there's one very sure way of making it legal, wait till they're no longer a student.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Tirian » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:46 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:If a teacher just absolutely must boing a student there's one very sure way of making it legal, wait till they're no longer a student.


I'm sorry to say that there are two ways of making it legal. The teacher can also marry the student before graduation. Yeah, I don't even, but there it is in the law.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Radical_Initiator » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:48 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:I'm sorry to say that there are two ways of making it legal. The teacher can also marry the student before graduation. Yeah, I don't even, but there it is in the law.


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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Elvish Pillager » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:57 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:And Elvish: the problem is your insistent that there is ever a situation where it can be 100% consensual between a teacher/student.

Well, I don't know if I believe in the concept of "100% consensual"; consent is a complicated process and I don't think there's a way to do it "perfectly" (rather, you can always learn more about good ways to communicate desires and boundaries). But yes, I am insistent that there are some teacher/student relationships that are consensual enough that, if you said it was a problem, you'd also have a problem with 95% of all relationships.

Mind you, I myself have a problem with 95% of all relationships, but my solution is not "make almost all relationships punishable by jail time for at least one participant". Further, as with many prohibition issues, banning the behavior doesn't mean that it doesn't happen - it just means that when it does happen, it happens in secret. And secrecy is especially problematic for consent/coercion issues, since it means you (the student, in this case) don't get a third pair of eyes to notice warning signs you might not pick up on yourself.

You and others have listed a bunch of possible problems with teacher/student relationships; obviously, these are in addition to the problems that exist for relationships in general. But, answer this question for me: What do you think the ratio is? Do you think there are twice as many problems in a teacher/student relationship? Ten times as many? I think it's no more than twice as many. As a staunch feminist, I could easily list a lot potential problems in male/female relationships - as many and as harsh as y'all have identified in teacher/student relationships.

Jahoclave wrote:And as to your other examples, welcome to no way in hell to prove it.

"There's no way to prove that this wasn't coerced" is a problem common to all relationships ever.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:00 pm UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:But yes, I am insistent that there are some teacher/student relationships that are consensual enough that, if you said it was a problem, you'd also have a problem with 95% of all relationships.
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Elvish Pillager wrote:Mind you, I myself have a problem with 95% of all relationships, but my solution is not "make almost all relationships punishable by jail time for at least one participant".
Neither is this law's. You can have a relationship with anyone you want. You can't have sex with anyone you want. In fact, if you do have sex with someone who is coerced, drugged, juvenile, etc. you will serve jail time, and that is entirely appropriate.
Elvish Pillager wrote:Further, as with many prohibition issues, banning the behavior doesn't mean that it doesn't happen - it just means that when it does happen, it happens in secret.
Irrelevant in this case. The sex is already happening in secret because the teacher's job is on the line.
Elvish Pillager wrote:Do you think there are twice as many problems in a teacher/student relationship? Ten times as many? I think it's no more than twice as many.
I think a majority of people, and experts on the issue, would disagree with you. The incidence of abuse is no doubt much higher than twice the average. That's an astoundingly low estimate.
Elvish Pillager wrote:"There's no way to prove that this wasn't coerced" is a problem common to all relationships ever.
So we should treat all relationships the same and make victims prove coercion every time? Regardless of any other factors?

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:03 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:So we should treat all relationships the same and make victims prove coercion every time? Regardless of any other factors?


What victim? From the sound of it, the students she had sex with are defending her.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:11 pm UTC

I don't know. How about this one? Should she have to prove that sex wasn't consensual?

I believe Elvish is arguing that all sexual relationships have consent issues so we should treat them all equally under the law.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:14 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:I don't know. How about this one? Should she have to prove that sex wasn't consensual?

I believe Elvish is arguing that all sexual relationships have consent issues so we should treat them all equally under the law.


I don't believe that ms Brittni Colleps had sex with that person.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:36 pm UTC

Do you have anything useful to contribute?

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:54 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Do you have anything useful to contribute?


I'm just saying, the article in the OP is a completely different crime than the one you posted.

None of the (adult)Students in this case appear to consider themselves victims, and you're trying to paint them as victims because you think you know better than they do.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:08 pm UTC

I'm not trying do that at all. I challenged a previous statement that appeared to imply that because all sexual relationships have questions of consent, they should all be treated the same way by the law. I pointed out that this change in legal status would result in many victims needing to prove that they were coerced. In this case, the law is designed to give the benefit of the doubt to the victim, rather than to the aggressor. Most people agree with this course of action in situations like statutory rape and sex with a kidnapping victim, and while it could be argued that there exists a situation in which sex is consensual and appropriate, the law is designed to give victims the benefit of the doubt in those cases, as it does in this one.

And while I didn't indicate whether or not these students are victims or not, I find it disturbing that you think they should be disqualified simply because they are advocating for their teacher. Simply because victims defend their abuser does not mean the abuse did not take place.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:15 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:I'm not trying do that at all. I challenged a previous statement that appeared to imply that because all sexual relationships have questions of consent, they should all be treated the same way by the law. I pointed out that this change in legal status would result in many victims needing to prove that they were coerced. In this case, the law is designed to give the benefit of the doubt to the victim, rather than to the aggressor. Most people agree with this course of action in situations like statutory rape and sex with a kidnapping victim, and while it could be argued that there exists a situation in which sex is consensual and appropriate, the law is designed to give victims the benefit of the doubt in those cases, as it does in this one.

And while I didn't indicate whether or not these students are victims or not, I find it disturbing that you think they should be disqualified simply because they are advocating for their teacher. Simply because victims defend their abuser does not mean the abuse did not take place.



Wouldn't "giving victims the benefit of the doubt" also involve honoring their wishes regarding whether or not you pursue the case?

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:39 pm UTC

Not necessarily. Stockholm Syndrome shouldn't absolve kidnappers, should it?

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby morriswalters » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:52 pm UTC

The fact that she used students is indicative of what is bad about it. If she wanted to have sex with young men at the age of 18 there are thousands of them out of school and available. She went hunting in a captive audience.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Elvish Pillager » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:03 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:So we should treat all relationships the same and make victims prove coercion every time? Regardless of any other factors?

Heisenberg wrote:I believe Elvish is arguing that all sexual relationships have consent issues so we should treat them all equally under the law.

Yeah, those are good summaries of my position.

Heisenberg wrote:I don't know. How about this one? Should she have to prove that sex wasn't consensual?

It seems from the Wikipedia page that the aggressors were convicted of a regular rape charge, which means that they did indeed have to prove, to the satisfaction of the court, that the sex wasn't consensual. (In that case it was done through a guilty plea, but the other evidence listed on the page would be quite sufficient to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt, so the defense would hardly have claimed consent in the first place.)

It seems you're arguing from an intolerable conclusion - "If this law didn't exist, then some victims of abuse would have to prove coercion the regular way, and that's terrible". It's certainly undesirable, and should be avoided if it's possible to avoid it for a reasonable cost, but that kind of argument ignores the context and tradeoffs: It's already true that countless victims of abuse have to prove coercion in court if they want to secure a conviction (and that they very often cannot prove it). What other laws would have to exist in order to apply this principle consistently? Is the benefit to society of this law greater than the cost to society of putting people like Brittni Colleps in jail? For that matter, what is the proposed benefit - do you think this law will decrease the incidence of teachers coercing students into sex? As you mention, they already face dismissal, and beyond a certain point, the magnitude of a punishment has little influence on its deterrent effect. (And if the alleged victim actually doesn't want to see the perpetrator in jail, as in this case, I can hardly see a possible benefit other than deterrence.)

Let's assume for the moment that it does indeed have a deterrent effect. Then the law is a purchase, at some cost to society, of some reduction in sexual abuse. Is it the most efficient way to spend society's resources towards reducing sexual abuse? I find that proposition highly unlikely.
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:36 pm UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:Is the benefit to society of this law greater than the cost to society of putting people like Brittni Colleps in jail?

I don't think we've established that putting this woman in jail is a bad thing. She certainly did have sex with multiple students in a situation that was almost certainly coercive.

While you seem to cling to your belief in some sort of ideal relationship between student and teacher that bridges the massive power imbalance, it certainly didn't happen here. These weren't star-crossed lovers meeting across a crowded cafeteria, this was a gangbang.

So... is the cost of putting an almost-definitely-sexual-abuser in jail worth the benefit of reducing teacher/student sexual abuse? Sure. Seems like a steal to me. And it seemed like the right course of action for a jury of her peers, who no doubt have more information on this case than anyone on this board.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Elvish Pillager » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:17 pm UTC

So you think it'd be good to jail her even if it didn't help reduce sexual abuse? You're saying that you prefer for people who do bad things, and their families, to suffer, regardless of whether it helps anyone?
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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:27 pm UTC

Whose posts are you reading? I said jailing her to prevent abuse seems like a great idea.

Apart from that, your question deals with the fundamental purpose of the criminal justice system, which is something people have been arguing about for centuries. Spoiler'd for way off topic.
Spoiler:
What you've left out of the trivialization of that debate is the case for rehabilitation. Even if you're convinced that punishment is unethical (debatable) and that imprisoning this woman does not make society safer (debatable), advocates of rehabilitation would argue that helping this woman change her ways and stop coercing people into having sex with her is beneficial not only to society but to herself as well.

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Re: Teacher gets 5 years in jail for sex with 18yo students

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:33 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Whose posts are you reading? I said jailing her to prevent abuse seems like a great idea.

Apart from that, your question deals with the fundamental purpose of the criminal justice system, which is something people have been arguing about for centuries. Spoiler'd for way off topic.
Spoiler:
What you've left out of the trivialization of that debate is the case for rehabilitation. Even if you're convinced that punishment is unethical (debatable) and that imprisoning this woman does not make society safer (debatable), advocates of rehabilitation would argue that helping this woman change her ways and stop coercing people into having sex with her is beneficial not only to society but to herself as well.



Why is it that you're defaming these 5 adult students that she had sex with by suggesting that they are incapable of deciding of their own volition to have sex with her?


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