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Pennsylvania Increases Penalties for Certain Sex Crimes

A teacher that has been accused of having sex with one of his or her students will immediately be placed under suspicion by the public. These stories are almost always high-profile cases. Like with many other sex crimes, fighting these accusations can be incredibly difficult.

Now, the consequences for a conviction have recently become much more severe for Pennsylvania teachers. The Pennsylvania Legislature recently enacted new rules that will enhance punishments for teachers convicted of having sex with a student. Prior to the rule being passed, sex with a student was called "corruption of a minor," a misdemeanor with a maximum of five years in jail.

The new crime, a third-degree felony called institutional sexual assault, applies to teachers, volunteers, coaches, bus drivers or school employees. Punishments include the potential for seven years of jail time, and more importantly, anyone convicted of this crime will have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law.

There are a range of specific requirements in place for those who have to register as sex offenders. Offenders will need to notify police whenever they move, and will have to comply with additional restrictions after they have finished any prison sentence.

Anyone convicted of a sex offense will face a lifetime of challenges finding employment or a new place to live. Communities are reluctant to allow sex offenders into their neighborhoods, and often will hold meetings trying to force the offender to a different location. Knowing what options are available to help defend against sex crimes accusations is crucial for anyone who is facing these charges.

Source: WFMZ-TV, "New law stiffens penalties for teachers who prey on students" Will Lewis, Feb 20, 2012.

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