A Virginia physical education teacher has been placed on administrative leave after he approved the use of a sexually-charged video for use in a ninth-grade Sex Education class. The video, which was provided by the local Sexual Assault Resource Agency, included detailed descriptions of male and female sexual activity and was hosted by a YouTube and MTV personality known for her videos on sex education.
Parents of some of the children in the class were outraged, and contacted Liberty Counsel, a Christian values advocacy group, which demanded that the educator be fired and the school system’s ties to the local agency that provided the video be severed. Additionally, the group highlighted the fact that the showing of the video to these minors could be a violation of state law.
“The law in Virginia prohibits the knowing and intentional showing of videos showing sexual animations to children under 13,” said Patrick Woolley, a Virginia Sex Crimes Attorney with the law firm of Price Benowitz, LLP. “However, that same law also requires that the purpose of showing the video be to induce the child to participate in some sort of sexual act. The situation in question seems to have several of the required elements but seems to lack the most crucial piece – the intent to induce the child to participate in a sexual act.” Woolley said.
Intent is a requirement to obtain a conviction for many different types of crimes. Determining whether someone had the requisite intent to commit a specific act requires an examination of the state of mind of the individual – whether he or she was determined to carry out the act in question. Intent is very subjective and requires sufficient evidence to prove. In this case, any criminal prosecution of the administrator in question will require showing that he intended to use the video to encourage the students to participate in lewd acts.
Regardless of the law, simply being accused of acts like the ones described above can be personally devastating to an individual. However, being charged with violating this law carries the risk of conviction and serious jail time. An experienced sex crimes attorney is absolutely necessary to ensure that an individual’s rights are protected and the charges vigorously contested.