There is an interesting lawsuit filed in Washington D.C. that could test the limits of civil liability for statutory rape. The case was filed by the family of a 17-year-old seeking $11 million after a teacher allegedly engaged in oral sex with 17-year-old male student. The case however falls along the line of consent laws. The teacher, 22 year old Symone Greene (left), was only around 5 years older than the victim and the age of consent in D.C. is 16 years old. Both the criminal and civil cases could raise some difficult legal issues because she had a “significant relationship” with the student.
The boy, a football player, reportedly was working as an assistant with Greene. He reportedly flirted with the teacher and sent her a text asking if she was “kinky.” He then filmed her giving him oral sex and then shared the video with his friends.
There is no question of the misconduct of the teacher. However, the switch to a civil lawsuit creates a different dimension to the case where the victim’s conduct could become more material (and admissible) in judging culpability.
In the meantime, Green has pleaded not guilty to first-degree sexual assault against a minor in a significant relationship. That criminal case may also raise some interesting challenges after to whether the relationship can be used to lower the age of consent. It is a curious twist to the case since the city can create a crime for teachers in having sex with students. However, in this prosecution, the District effectively labeled her as a sex offender by in essence constructively lowering the age of the victim.