Teacher Sexual Abuse of a Student in Michigan

Unconventional relationships between teachers and students have been growing in prevalence across America over the course of the past decade. In the state of Michigan, all relationships of a sexual nature between teachers and students have been deemed to be illegal, because of the authority and trust that we place in our teachers as a society. Therefore, if you or a teacher you know is being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student you need to take assertive and decisive action to defend yourself.

Grabel & Associates is the preeminent legal defense firm in the state of Michigan. Our attorneys and staff have been fighting to protect client’s rights against sex crimes for more than 19 years and have a proven record of success. It takes a special kind of attorney to balance aggressive defense strategies with the delicate nature of sexual crimes. We have the experience and professionalism necessary to create a favorable outcome in your case. This section is meant to provide an educational resource for people who are investigating the law and the charges that a teacher could face.

Depending on the nature of the circumstances, if a teacher is involved with a student, then there are several different charges that a prosecutor could bring against a teacher. The prosecution’s decision is determined based on what he or she believes actually occurred, and what he or she believes they can prove with the evidence available.

For the purposes of this section we will be discussing teachers and students, but it is worth noting that for the purposes of the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act, teachers will be treated the same as school administrators, substitute teachers, and school service providers. Schools are treated the same regardless if they are public schools, private schools, or intermediate schools.

Introduction to Criminal Sexual Conduct: Different Offenses & Degrees

There are separate provisions in the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act regarding teacher and student interactions. If a teacher is engaged in a relationship that has been deemed inappropriate under the eyes of the law, then the specific charge that will be filed against the teacher will be determined by both the nature of the conduct and the age of the student. There are two different types of criminal sexual conduct. First, there are offenses that involve penetration. Penetration has been defined in the statute as sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion into the genital or anal opening of another person. The court of appeals has held this to include a hand or finger to penetrate a person’s vagina or anal opening. A penetration offense will either be charged as a criminal sexual conduct first degree or a criminal sexual conduct third degree depending on the age of the student.

The other type of offense under the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act for teachers is called a contact offense and involves any type of sexual contact that is done for a sexual purpose. Sexual contact is defined in MCL 750.52a(q) as the intentional touching of a victim’s intimate parts or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the other person’s intimate parts. However, it must be shown that the intentional touching was done for one of three reasons. First, that it was for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. Second, that the contact was made for a sexual purpose or a sexual manner for the purpose of revenge. Finally, if the contact was made to inflict humiliation or out of anger, then it can be demonstrated the contact was made for a sexual purpose. A sexual contact offense will either be charged as a criminal sexual conduct second degree or a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree depending on the age of the student.

Teachers and Students: Penetration and Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree

If the other person is less than 16 years of age and the incident involves sexual penetration, then the teacher could be charged with criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. This is one of the most serious charges in Michigan, and the penalties can include up to life in prison. However, if the student was at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age, then the teacher or school administrator could be charged with criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. CSC third degree is a felony, and the maximum penalty for CSC third degree is 15 years in prison. It is important to understand that neither of these offenses have probation as a sentencing option, so it is essential get the best legal defense possible to avoid going to prison.

If you or someone you know is a teacher and is facing charges of CSC first degree or CSC third degree, then acting quickly to begin working with an experienced attorney can benefit you and the final disposition of your case. If you have yet to have formal allegations filed against you, then it may still be possible to get out in front of the charges and avoid ever having anything filed against you. This can keep your record clean and avoid the unnecessary stress and hardship of a protracted legal battle in court.

However, if you are a teacher and have been charged with CSC first degree or CSC third degree, then you should contact Grabel & Associates today to begin working on the particular details of your individualized defense strategy. Grabel & Associates has been defending and winning sex crime cases in Michigan for more than 19 years and we understand that relationships between teachers and students occasionally develops in unconventional ways. What is important now, is to protect your future and your reputation from a felony conviction.

Teachers and Students: Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree

Under MCL 750.520c (1), for a person to be convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, the prosecutor must prove that a sexual contact occurred and that the student was enrolled at the teacher’s school. Additionally, that the student was at least 13, but less than 16 years of age at the time of the interaction. Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree is a felony and has a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. The good news is that probation is available as a sentence for this felony, so depending on the judge’s discretion it may be possible to avoid ever going to jail even if a conviction is entered. However, you will have to register as a sex offender under the Sexual Offender Registration Act if a conviction is entered. If the student was at least 13 years of age, but less than 18 years of age then it is a tier two offense under the Sexual Offender Registration Act.

Aside from the difference in penalties, the real difference between a CSC second degree and a CSC fourth degree for teachers and students is the age of the student. If the student is at least 16, but less than 18 years of age, then the charge that is filed will be CSC fourth degree for sexual contact. CSC fourth degree is the only offense that is not a felony. This misdemeanor has a maximum penalty of two years in prison, and additionally, probation is available as a potential sentence for a CSC fourth degree conviction. You will have to register as a sex offender if a conviction is entered. If the student was at least 13, but under the age of 18, then it is a tier two listed offense under the Sexual Offender Registration Act.

Grabel & Associates’ Approach to Criminal Sexual Conduct between Teachers and Students in Michigan

Teacher abuse of a student is an extremely serious charge, and is charged under the same legal code as forcible rape and molestation. It is essential to have a skilled attorney who understands the intimate workings of the criminal justice system to protect your rights at every stage of the proceedings. There are very different roles that must be played depending on whether your have yet to be charged, are in the pretrial phase, are at trial, or are seeking post judgment relief or appeal.

Our talented Michigan defense attorneys understand that winning your freedom is crucial, but protecting your name and your reputation is also essential. If charges have yet to be filed, then the primary objective is to do everything possible to get the charges from ever being filed. If charges have already been filed, then it is necessary to prepare for trial. This means reviewing and analyzing all evidence from every angle to uncover weaknesses in the prosecution’s position, and bolstering your good standing and evidence in support of your innocence. Grabel & Associates will conduct our own independent investigation to reveal any ulterior motives or uncover overlooked evidence and information that may help you get the charges reduced or dismissed.

No matter what happened, every person deserves a comprehensive, individualized defense strategy for defending against allegations of a sex crime. Our attorneys will work with you every step of the way to provide the best legal defense that can be formulated on your behalf, and to seek a favorable outcome. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-883-2138 to set up a free consultation and begin the process of getting you on a path toward a better future.

Client Reviews

★★★★★
Great lawyer he went into court and ripped the girl trying to lie on me a new one. He fot me off on all charges and with out him i would be in prision. Thank you so much i will definitely keep your number and pass it on to any one in trouble and keep it for future incase i ever have to go back to court K. J.
★★★★★
Just starting the case. Scott Grabel is a very down to earth kind of guy. He doesn't rush you and answers your questions very thoroughly. Scott and Tim Doman return calls quickly. We're still early but I will post an update throughout our process. D. J.
★★★★★
Great job Tim, Scott, Daniel very aggressive and knowledgeable They always call you back if you have questions even after hours the best outcome I could've hoped for thanks again R. E.