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Sexual Offenses Against Students by Authority Figures

Children are among the most vulnerable population in society. So, the state of Florida has implemented harsh penalties for those convicted of physically, financially or sexually abusing a child. Sex crimes in particular have far-reaching collateral consequences such as being required to register as a sex offender annually.  If you are put into a position of authority within a school system, then the penalties for committing a sexual offense is enhanced even further.

Committing a sex act against a student as an authority figure in a school system will result in serious criminal charges. The penalties for the crime include expensive fines that are in the thousands and even possible time in prison. Not to mention if you have a sex conviction involving children on your record it’s unlikely the Florida Department of Education will allow you to work in a school ever again.

If you or someone you know has been accused of committing a sexual offense against students as an authority figure, it’s important you seek legal representation.

Lawyer for Sexual Offenses Against Students by Authority Figures in St. Lucie County, FL

If you or someone you know has been charged with committing a sexual offense against a student as an authority figure, it’s imperative you gain legal counsel. A sex crimes conviction involving children could uproot your whole life and career. The statutory penalties alone are enough to be alarmed. Get started on your defense and call Meltzer & Bell.

Our attorneys at Meltzer & Bell will work tirelessly to resolve your case so your charges are reduced or dismissed. Call us at (772) 291-2534 and we will begin charting out your defense plan. Meltzer & Bell accepts clients throughout the greater St. Lucie County and Martin County area including Stuart, Fort Pierce, Saint Lucie, Port St. Lucie and Palm City.

Overview of Sex Crimes Against Students by Authority Figures in FL


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What Does Florida Consider Sexual Crimes Against Students by Authority Figures?

Sexual abuse involving children is always treated as a high-level crime. When the preparator is a part of the school system the penalties are enhanced even further since the defendant breached the trust instilled in them by the community. It’s important you understand the legal definitions for “authority figures” and “students” before you can thoroughly understand what Florida considers to be a sexual offense against students by an authority figure.

Florida Statutes section 775.0862 defines “authority figures” as a person who is over the age of 18 and is employed by, volunteering at or under contract at a public or private school for minors. A few examples of an authority figures as defined under Florida law include:

  • Teachers;
  • ESL teachers and assistants;
  • Principals;
  • Vice principals;
  • School nurses;
  • Coaches;
  • Volunteer coaches;
  • Cafeteria workers;
  • School librarians;
  • School bus drivers;
  • Custodians;
  • Field trip volunteers;
  • Construction workers at the school;
  • Student resource officers;
  • Guidance counselors;
  • PTSA members; and
  • Office administration

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Penalties for Committing a Sex Crime Against a Student as an Authority Figure in FL

The legal consequences for committing a sexual offense on a child as an authority figure are incredibly severe. Because authority figures in school hold a certain type of power that can easily coerce a student into committing a sexual act the penalties for the crime are enhanced drastically. These heightened penalties are to deter predators from entering the school system.

If you were convicted of a sexual crime against a student as an authority figure, then your crime will be reclassified by one felony degree. For instance, if you were charged with soliciting a child online then your charges would be a third-degree felony. However, if you are an authority figure and the victim was a student, then you will face a second-degree felony instead.


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Additional Resources

Childhelp – Visit the official website for Childhelp, a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to helping vulnerable children who are survivors of sexual abuse. Access the site to learn more about their story, statistics for child abuse within the U.S. and how to get involved.

FL Laws for Sexual Offenses Against Students by Authority Figures – Visit the official website of the updated Florida Statutes to read the statuary language surrounding sexual crimes against students by authority figures. Access the site to learn more about sex crimes involving students and authority figures, how your penalties will be enhanced on conviction and more.


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Port St. Lucie Attorney for Sex Crimes to Students as Authority Figures in FL

If you or someone you know has been accused of committing a sex crime against a child as an authority figure in a school, we suggest you get in contact with Meltzer & Bell. We have decades of sex crime defense experience that we can utilize for your case. With our skills, resources and practice we can fight your charges.

Meltzer & Bell will do whatever we can to fight your charges. Meltzer & Bell can be reached at (772) 291-2534 and we will set up your first consultation free. Meltzer & Bell accepts clients throughout the greater Martin County and St. Lucie County area including Fort Pierce, Stuart and Port St. Lucie.


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