There are two basic kinds of wrongs in what's called our common-law system of law: (i) crimes, and (ii) civil wrongs. Both kinds of wrongs can land the wrongdoer in court. A crime is charged, usually, when all of the elements of a particular statute prohibiting certain conduct are met: for instance, if a statute provides that a person who is under the age of 16 (Ohio's statute) may not consent to sexual relations, then an adult who has sex with a 15-year-old will be subject to a criminal trial and conviction, irrespective of that teenager's personal consent.When a person such as a boss at work or a teacher in school has sex with a person who, in that state, is above the statutory age of consent, then depending on the facts and circumstances, a civil wrong may have been committed, e.g., sexual harassment, breach of fiduciary duty, or types of tortious abuse.It is likely that in the state where this teacher had sex with her 18-year-old students, there was enacted a statute (by that state's legislature) that makes it a crime (whether a misdemeanor or felony would be spelled out in that statute) for pre-college teachers to have sexual relations with their students, no matter the age of the students.Should it be charged as a crime? Evidently, that state thinks so.In my view (and really, who cares what I think), what the teacher did was horrible, a great wrong and one that should result in the loss of her job and some kind of permanent injunctive relief barring her from teaching again. Should she go to jail? It depends . . . can't say, but doubtless the good folks of that state will figure out the right penalty.
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