State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I - Schenectady) and his colleagues in the New York State Senate recently passed legislation that would make it a crime for school employees to engage in sexual activity with students, including those who are older than New York’s legal age of consent. The bill (S.6714) addresses inappropriate student-school employee relationships by criminalizing sexual conduct between school employees and full-time students of elementary and secondary schools.
New York’s legal age of consent is 17. By taking a child’s school status into consideration, this bill would remove an elementary or secondary school student’s ability to consent and prohibit sexual conduct between a school employee and a student. Violations would be a class E felony and carry a sentence of up to 4 years in prison.
This bill also addresses any possible adult that is in a position of trust in a school by defining school employees as anyone receiving compensation from a school district where services performed involved district student contact, as well as any person, other than an employee, who provides services to a school or school district which involve direct student contact.
Twenty other states have recognized the seriousness of the issue and criminalize this conduct under their current statutes.
The bill will be sent to the Assembly.