Tonight on 8News at 5, Mark Tenia looks at how lawmakers are examining student-teacher relationships.
RICHMOND, VA—Virginia lawmakers want to take a closer look at laws surrounding sexual relationships between public school employees and students.
Under current Virginia law, it's not illegal for a public school employee to have a sexual relationship with a student, if the student is of age. It's something 8News first brought to the attention of Virginia lawmakers in October 2012.
"I think it will be corrected in this upcoming General Assembly session" Delegate Joe Morrissey said in October.
Democratic Delegate Morrissey and Republican Delegate Manoli Loupassi say the current law needs to change.
"Common sense would dictate to you this is wholly inappropriate; I mean it's not a close call," Delegate Loupassi said in October.
In 23 states, it's a crime for any public school employee to have a sexual relationship with a student, regardless of the student's age.
8News first brought the laws to the attention of Virginia lawmakers after a Chesterfield County teacher was released from employment after accusations that she had sex with a student.
Anna Michelle Walters, a former substitute teacher and assistant cheerleading coach with the Chesterfield County Public School System, later pleaded no contest to misdemeanor sexual battery and guilty to misdemeanor contributing to delinquency of a minor, after she was accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage student.
Walter will also have to register as a sex offender and spend up to 12 months in jail.
House Bill 595 which, in part, directs the Virginia State Crime Commission to determine the availability of penalties for sexual conduct between secondary school students 18 years of age and older and teachers, passed the Virginia House and has now moved to the Senate.
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