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Statutory Rape by an Authority Figure

Sex Crime Defense Attorneys in Nashville, TN

There are four specific statutory rape charges under Tennessee law: statutory rape, mitigated statutory rape, aggravated statutory rape, and statutory rape by an authority figure. This page focuses on statutory rape by an authority figure. This is the most serious form of this offense, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison, heavy fines, and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.

If you are a teacher, coach, doctor, parent, guardian, or another person who has been accused of statutory rape by an authority figure, your future is at stake. You must not wait to seek legal counsel. Even informal allegations or an investigation may threaten your career, your custody rights, or your professional license. At May McKinney, we can work quickly to manage every aspect of your case, protecting your reputation and rights. Our Nashville sex crime lawyers understand how to effectively handle these severe and sensitive matters, fighting to preserve our clients’ best interests.

Call (615) 265-6383 today to find out how we can help you.

TCA: § 39-13-532 – Statutory Rape by an Authority Figure

To convict someone of statutory rape by an authority figure, the state of Tennessee must prove each of the following:

  • Unlawful sexual penetration occurred between the defendant and the alleged victim;
  • The alleged victim was 13 to under 18 years old at the time of the offense; and
  • The defendant was at least 4 years older than the alleged victim at the time of the offense.

The state must also prove that, at the time of the offense:

  • The defendant was in a position of trust or had disciplinary or supervisory power over the alleged victim; or
  • The defendant had parental or custodial authority over the alleged victim; and
  • The defendant used this power, trust, or authority to accomplish the penetration.

The most challenging issue that arises when defending these charges is proving a person was an authority figure. Most of the cases decided by the Court of Criminal Appeals have involved teachers, employers, and those with a family relationship to the victim. One critical issue is determining if a person was in a position of trust. This determination depends not on the length or format of the relationship, but rather on the nature of the relationship. The judge will consider whether the defendant formally or informally acted in a relationship that promoted confidence, reliability, or faith with the victim.

Penalties for Statutory Rape by an Authority Figure

If a person is convicted of statutory rape by an authority figure, the punishment is severe. A conviction by a trial or a plea to the charge results in the automatic revocation of the bail bond. The offense carries mandatory prison time, ranging from 3 to 15 years. Alternative sentencing with probation is not an option. Registration as a sex offender is mandatory.

If you or someone you know is facing an allegation of statutory rape by an authority figure, contact May McKinney. We serve Nashville, Franklin, Brentwood, Mount Juliet, and all of Tennessee.

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