Court reverses Columbia County teacher sex ruling

Monday, June 15, 2009 9:14 AM
Last updated 11:34 AM
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In a 5-to-2 vote, the Supreme Court of Georgia has reversed a ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals involving the issue of consent and a Columbia County teacher who was 28 when she was arrested for having sex with a 16-year-old girl.

The Court of Appeals had upheld the Richmond County Superior Court’s ruling against Melissa Lee Chase, who was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by five years on probation.

“This appeal presents a straightforward question of law,” says today’s majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears. “The question is whether, in November 2006, consent of the alleged victim was a defense.”

In today’s decision, the Supreme Court ruled it was a defense that should have been allowed at trial.

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GnipGnop1
2
Points
GnipGnop1 06/15/09 - 08:22 am
0
0
We don't trust 16 year olds

We don't trust 16 year olds to vote or enter into binding legal contracts but we think they can consent to sex with a 28 year old? Our kids are off limits to people who hold authority over them. I don't care if they are 21 and still in school. This person should know better than to prey on children under her authority. Whether she was directly her teacher or not is a moot point. Prison guards can't have sex with inmates and they both can consent. There is a reason for this just as there is a reson for educators to keep their hands off of children under their watchful eyes.

wise ole man
85
Points
wise ole man 06/15/09 - 08:38 am
0
0
If i remember this case-

If i remember this case- didn't the girl go to the teacher's home on her own. She was not driven to the home by the teacher nor was she a student of the teacher's. Whrere I agree with no teacher/student relationship, there have been male teachers that have had relationships with female students and have not faced the same punishment.

GnipGnop1
2
Points
GnipGnop1 06/15/09 - 08:48 am
0
0
Give instances...The ones I

Give instances...The ones I remember are either in prison or on the sex offender list. It shouldn't matter whether it was after school or the student went there on her own.

up2nogood
0
Points
up2nogood 06/15/09 - 08:55 am
0
0
If I remember correctly,

If I remember correctly, Melissa Chase was this girl's softball coach, so she did have directy authority over her in a school setting.

Opinionated1234
0
Points
Opinionated1234 06/15/09 - 08:58 am
0
0
GnipGnop, I believe it does

GnipGnop, I believe it does matter because I remember this case and it was no question about it that this student was the aggressor. She pursued this teacher at great length. I have to agree that teacher/student relationships should not be tolerated but I personally know of educators, specifically, male educators and not in just Columbia Cty to enter into a relationship with their female students and marry them, and everybody lives happily ever after. I think we have a double standard here and I believe that this woman was "stoned" so to speak because it was a lesbian relationship rather than a heterosexual one.

GnipGnop1
2
Points
GnipGnop1 06/15/09 - 09:12 am
0
0
mularkey...names or

mularkey...names or specifics. Just cause you remember it doesn't make it true. This has everything to do with a teacher having sex with a student..not lesbianism. I don't care if the student called her and told her she wanted her or whatever. Adults have the responsibility of making sure things like this don't happen. There is no excuse anyone can give to make this an acceptable behavior.Men that have sex with young underage kids suffer far worse consequences than women that have sex with underage kids. The women usually recieve probation while the men serve time in prison.

roundaboutway
0
Points
roundaboutway 06/15/09 - 09:14 am
0
0
God bless lesbians.

God bless lesbians.

up2nogood
0
Points
up2nogood 06/15/09 - 09:58 am
0
0
GnipGnop is right. A prime

GnipGnop is right. A prime example is that Florida teacher who had sex with a pre-teen boy. She only got three years of house arrest because she was "too pretty" to go to jail. Had that been a man with a pre-teen girl, he would have been sent to prison for 20 years not matter how "pretty" he was.

up2nogood
0
Points
up2nogood 06/15/09 - 10:01 am
0
0
Women too often rail against

Women too often rail against a double standard that negatively affects them, but are damn quick to embrace a double standard that will get them out of jam.

wise ole man
85
Points
wise ole man 06/15/09 - 10:04 am
0
0
Correction - girl in question

Correction - girl in question did not play softball- sport Chase coached. I know of 4 male teachers in 3 counties that married one of their students. In all of these cases, the teacher was "dating" the student while they were married. One teacher was infact the teacher of one of the students- who by the way now teaches herself. It does not make it correct either way, but there is a double standard here. I know of no male teachers in jail for these types of relationships.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 06/15/09 - 10:04 am
0
0
So how does that effect the

So how does that effect the other case of the woman that had consensual sex with a classmate years ago that was all over the papers not too long ago? Anyone remember what the particulars of that case were?

GnipGnop1
2
Points
GnipGnop1 06/15/09 - 10:15 am
0
0
Well I know for a fact a

Well I know for a fact a teacher at Sego had sex with 2 of his students and went to jail. This was in 79-80ish. He got like 20 years. That's all besides the point anyways. A person in a authoritive position (whether the underage person is directly under their supervision or not) should not be in intimate situations with children. If a student is pursuing the adult then they have an obligation to report it to their superiors. This way it can be addressed and that person can't be caught up in a false scandal nor face criminal charges for actions they did not engage in. It's common sense.

storiesihaveread
369
Points
storiesihaveread 06/15/09 - 10:28 am
0
0
Ok maybe I am not reading

Ok maybe I am not reading this right. Does she get a free out of jail card?

Longtime CSRA resident
1
Points
Longtime CSRA resident 06/15/09 - 10:28 am
0
0
Look at how far the sins of

Look at how far the sins of homosexuality and sex between unmarried people have taken these two women. God never intended for us to engage in either of these acts.

roundaboutway
0
Points
roundaboutway 06/15/09 - 10:38 am
0
0
She has been in jail since

She has been in jail since 10/07. Like it or not she has already served over a year and a half.

Edward1968
624
Points
Edward1968 06/15/09 - 10:38 am
0
0
The law is clear on age of

The law is clear on age of consent and as to the illegality of teacher/student sex. Chase broke the law and should be punished. She should serve the maximum sentence w/o possibility of parole. Chase is a pedophile plain and simple. She may have not initiated the relationship, but is the adult who is repsonsible for not letting the relationship start.

noway
201
Points
noway 06/15/09 - 10:48 am
0
0
The LAW states that a 16 year

The LAW states that a 16 year old can give consent. The LAW! This is a question of law, that our legislature has been inept at writing. Chase is NOT a pedophile and the law is NOT clear but it IS clear that this ruling is RIGHT. What she did was not RIGHT, but Georgia doesn't have any effective laws protecting your children. And the State of Georgia does not rule by GOD's law whether you want it to or not, so keep your religious views out of this.

Rolling Eyes
247
Points
Rolling Eyes 06/15/09 - 10:57 am
0
0
The age of sexual consent in

The age of sexual consent in GA is 16. If the girl (who was 16) took it upon herself and went to Ms. Chase's home and the sex act took place there between them on a consensual basis, then how did Ms. Chase come to be charged with a crime? Do not get me wrong by my question. I DO NOT condone such behavior and in my opinion the girl is still a child unable to make a responsible decision as to matters of sex and all that it entails. As an adult Ms. Chase should have told the girl to go home to her parents! I'm wondering if there is some special law that affects teacher/student relationships other than moral ones?

storiesihaveread
369
Points
storiesihaveread 06/15/09 - 10:58 am
0
0
Gezz folks is anybody going

Gezz folks is anybody going to answer my question LOL

Rolling Eyes
247
Points
Rolling Eyes 06/15/09 - 11:04 am
0
0
Stories, I'll bet that right

Stories, I'll bet that right now Ms. Chase wishes that it had been a game of Monopoly that she was playing that night...................... No 'get out of jail free' cards for her!

storiesihaveread
369
Points
storiesihaveread 06/15/09 - 11:09 am
0
0
Thanks Rolling

Thanks Rolling

wise ole man
85
Points
wise ole man 06/15/09 - 11:19 am
0
0
No- she does not get out of

No- she does not get out of jail free.Chase has lost her teaching certificate- she will never be able to hold a job where children visit- restaurant, etc. Her abilty to support herself is pretty much over. This girl was able to walk away from a situation that affected lives other than her own. I doubt she even she realizes what her actions as well as Chase's actions had on others' lives.

noway
201
Points
noway 06/15/09 - 11:42 am
0
0
Rolling, the Supreme Court

Rolling, the Supreme Court just ruled that in fact, she should NOT have been charged with a crime. Had she not been a teacher, and that act took place, she would not have been in any trouble whatsoever. The fact that she was a teacher prompted the DA to charge her by that law. In fact, there are no laws on the books actually "protecting" children. Yes it was wrong, unethical and she SHOULD have told the girl to go home, I don't dispute that, but what she did wasn't a "crime" per se.

Little Lamb
49054
Points
Little Lamb 06/15/09 - 11:58 am
0
0
Edwards says that the law is

Edwards says that the law is "clear." Maybe so, but that does not mean that the law is "right." If a 16-year-old can consent to sex with another 16-year-old, then that 16-year-old should be able to consent to sex with a 28-year-old. It's a goose/gander thing.

Edward1968
624
Points
Edward1968 06/15/09 - 12:35 pm
0
0
Noway, No one is

Noway,
No one is disputing that 16 is the age of consent. It IS clear!!! Maybe Chase did not actively go out and look for children, but a 28 year old should have more morals than to enter into any intimate relationship with a 16 year old child. Also, I did not mention religion, but I find it very odd that you did. Maybe more is stuck in your craw than you let on??

OldShady
0
Points
OldShady 06/15/09 - 01:46 pm
0
0
The ruling did not say that

The ruling did not say that she should not have been charged with a crime. It said that the consent of the alleged victim should have been allowed as a defense in the trial. To me that means a new trial, so she should be let out of jail until convicted again properly.

noway
201
Points
noway 06/15/09 - 02:18 pm
0
0
Edward, I wasn't talking to

Edward, I wasn't talking to you when I mentioned religion, there were other posts on that topic. And besides that, what is a "craw"?

noway
201
Points
noway 06/15/09 - 02:19 pm
0
0
I also agree with you that it

I also agree with you that it was wrong and not a moral thing to do, but it wasn't against the law as it's written. She SHOULD have had more sense. Teachers are told time and time again...

Grasshopper
7
Points
Grasshopper 06/15/09 - 02:32 pm
0
0
Teachers who have sex with a

Teachers who have sex with a consenting 16 year old should be fired not jailed. Its not against the law for anyone else. Personally I find it disgusting for a 28 year old to be involved with anyone under 21, but the law is the law.

GnipGnop1
2
Points
GnipGnop1 06/15/09 - 03:10 pm
0
0
The law is aimed at people

The law is aimed at people like her. She should be fired, jailed and never be able to teach school again or work in a setting with children. I wonder if any of you would change your stance if she was a man. She is a sex offender and she got what she deserves.

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