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Sexual Exploitation by a School Employee

The language of the statute prohibits “any sexual conduct with a student for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of the school employee or the student.” Iowa Code § 709.15(3)(b ). The statute then enumerates what the legislature defines as “sexual conduct.”

Specifically, the statute states “ ‘sexual conduct’ includes, but is not limited to … kissing; touching of the clothed or unclothed inner thigh, breast, groin, buttock, anus, pubes, or genitals; or a sex act.” Id.

Iowa Code section 709.15(3), prohibiting sexual exploitation by a school employee. Section 709.15(3) provides:

3. Sexual exploitation by a school employee occurs when any of the following are found:

a. A pattern or practice or scheme of conduct to engage in any of the conduct described in paragraph “b”.

b. Any sexual conduct with a student for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of the school employee or the student. Sexual conduct includes but is not limited to the following: kissing; touching of the clothed or unclothed inner thigh, breast, groin, buttock, anus, pubes, or genitals; or a sex act as defined in section 702.17.

Sexual exploitation by a school employee does not include touching that is necessary in the performance of the school employee’s duties while acting within the scope of employment. Iowa Code § 709.15(3) (2009).


Definitions for Sexual Exploitation Crimes in School

The legislature defined “student” as a person who is currently enrolled in or attending a public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school, or who was a student enrolled in or who attended a public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school within thirty days of any violation of subsection 3.

Iowa Code § 709.15(1)(g). It defined “school employee” as “a practitioner as defined in section 272.17.” Id. § 709.15(1)(f). This section defines “practitioner” as “an administrator, teacher, or other licensed professional, including an individual who holds a statement of professional recognition, who provides educational assistance to students.” Id. § 272.1(7).


Recent Amendments to Sexual Exploitation to include Coaches

Effective on May 23, 2014, the Iowa Legislature through House File 2474, expanded Iowa Code section 709.15, the criminal offense of sexual exploitation, to include persons issued a coaching authorization.

The new legislation expands the definition of “school employee” in Iowa Code section 709.15 to include a person issued a coaching authorization by the Board of Educational Examiners.

The Iowa Code previously defined “school employee” in that provision to mean a practitioner as defined in Iowa Code section 272.1, which defines “practitioner” to mean an administrator, teacher, or other licensed professional, including an individual who holds a statement of professional recognition, who provides educational assistance to students.


Penalties for Sexual Exploitation by School Employees

A school employee who commits sexual exploitation in violation of Iowa Code section 709.15(5)(a) commits a class “D” felony. A school employee who commits sexual exploitation in violation of Iowa Code section 709.15(5)(b) commits an aggravated misdemeanor.

This broadening of the offense of sexual exploitation by a school employee to include persons issued a coaching authorization makes the person issued such an authorization also subject to the Sex Offender Registry under Iowa Code chapter 692A and a 10-year special sentence under Iowa Code section 903B.2.

Previously, the criminal offense of sexual exploitation by a counselor or school employee was excluded from the definition of “forcible felony.”


Finding an Attorney for Sexual Exploitation by a Teacher

When an investigation is opened into allegations of sexual misconduct by a teacher, certified educator, counselor or therapist, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. in Des Moines, Iowa. We represent clients throughout Polk County and the surrounding areas in Iowa.

Call (515) 279-9700 today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.