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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 17393
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I am a school counselor who was recently forced to retire early

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I am a school counselor who was recently forced to retire early because of a situation in which I did not report an alledged rape to my administrators. The girl was 16, the perpetrator was 18. When disclosed, I explained that pressing charges was up to the girl and her family, because she was of the age of consent. I encouraged her to talk to the police, but both child and mom agreed that they did not want to, and requested confidentiality. I encouraged the mom to take the child to the doctor, and to a counselor, which she agreed to do. My understanding is that in this situation, with children of those ages, I did was was legally required. My county is saying that I comitted a "felony".... what is the legal truth????
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
How long ago were you confronted about this? Were you arrested and charged with any crime? To your knowledge, has there been any further investigation into the matter?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I was told by the mom and child in September, who requested confidentiality. The administrators heard around March 23, I was forced to retire on March 27th. No, I was not arrested or charged, and to my knowledge there has not been futher investigation. (I know for sure the county has not pressed any charges).

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
I'm not surprised to hear your answer. I just wanted to check rather than give you a shoot-from-the-hip reaction.

I couldn't say whether or not what you did conformed with your employer's policies. But I don't see any evidence that anything you did was in any way criminal. The age of consent in Georgia is 16. The young woman is legally entitled to have sex with anyone she chooses. Even if her parents hated the young man, they could not have pressed charges, so long as the only "rape" at issue here was statutory. (That is, I'm assuming the young woman had consensual sex).

If the young man committed no crime, you neither engaged in nor abetted the commission of any felony. To the contrary, from what it's worth, your handling of the matter seems thorough and professional to me.

Looks to me as if in these hard economic times, your employer may have used the incident to force you out and save themselves the salary of a senior staff member. I don't see any evidence of criminal culpability from what you've reported here.

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your answer, the girl said it was NOT consentual, although it happened in her home when she invited him in, knowing her parents were not there.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
I have been unable to find either a Federal or a Georgia statute that makes it mandatory for a counselor to disclose a non-consensual rape the way counselors must disclose other forms of child abuse. Even were there some law that would legally override the mother and alleged victim's desire for confidentiality, the failure to report would have to be a criminal rather than a civil offense for you to face a felony arrest.

The very fact that the whole issue against you has been dropped is strongly suggestive that you have nothing along the lines of a future arrest to worry about.
_______

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice.
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 17393
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.