Accusations of sexual assault can damage a person’s personal and professional reputations for many years to come. Conviction on these charges can lead to a lifetime of difficulty in finding employment or decent housing.
A popular Chicago-area high school teacher faces sexual assault charges after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a former student. Police said the former student was 16-years-old at the time the relationship began.
Students praised the teacher for his work with the school’s speech team, and some expressed surprise or sadness after hearing about the charges. One student told reporters that the relationship between the teacher and the girl was an open secret. The relationship reportedly ended in November of 2011, but the criminal case against the teacher did not begin until sometime later, after the girl’s parents found a love letter the teacher had allegedly written to their daughter.
Generally, sexual assault is involuntary sexual contact achieved through the victim’s incapacitation or the actor’s force or coercion. Perhaps the most important defense strategy for those accused of sexual assault is to argue that the purported victim actually consented to the contact. However, because the age of consent in Illinois is 18, the consent defense is not available to those charged with sexual assault of a minor.
A conviction on a sexual assault charge can have lasting consequences. Not only is there the possibility of a prison sentence and other penalties, but those who are convicted will likely have to register as a sex offender. Having one’s name on a sexual offender registry can lead to a lifetime of difficulty finding employment or housing.
Source: ABC7, “Wheaton North teacher accused of sex with student; Edwin Klemm charged with sexual assault,” Stacey Baca and Jason Knowles, March 20, 2013