An English judge, Judge Anthony Pitts, has shocked police and prosecutors by expressly permitting prep school music teacher Helen Goddard, 26, to continue her relationship with a 15-year-old student after she is released from prison. Goodard received a 15-month sentence for her lesbian affair with the 15-year-old student.
Pitts did not belittle the offense, saying that “[t]his case is so serious an immediate sentence of imprisonment is inevitable.” The girl’s parents learned Goddard had taken their daughter to Paris and had a five-month affair with her.
Goddard plead guilty to six counts of inappropriate sexual activity with a child and must register as a sex offender for 10 years. Pitts refused to bar Goddard from communicating with the girl in jail (a standard condition) and refused to ban Goddard from seeing the girl for five years.
I can understand a judge’s uncertainty about barring communications between adults but, even if the age of majority is 18 years, one would think that there would be a ban until that time on communications or contacts. Even if the age of consent is 18 or even 16, it would not prevent the court from barring contact — certainly until that age of majority. Perhaps our English friends on the blog can help us out a bit in understanding this ruling.
Some have called this a double standard and that the sentence would have been higher for a male teacher and female student. Similar cases in the United States result in lifetime registration and longer sentences, here and here.
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