Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Tangled web in teacher-student sexual abuse case (Part 1)

You may have noticed a vast uptick in the number of stories that involve sexual abuse, a teacher and one of the teacher's students recently. Who knows if this is an indication of a disturbing growing trend, or just a hot-button topic in the news right now where every single one of these stories is being highlighted and heavily reported.

That's not to say they don't deserve such attention -- but there has certainly been a number of these stories in recent months, to the point that there are many people out there who have noticed the increase in such stories.

As unfortunate as these sexual crimes are, there is obviously a lot of sympathy thrown at the victim. The younger victim doesn't know the consequences, or even the ramifications, of what he or she is going through. They are being used. These crimes are terrible. There's no disputing that.

But there's also no disputing that the person accused of these crimes is innocent until proven guilty, and that he or she is entitled to a fair trial. What also can't be disputed is the consequences the accused person suffers, whether they are guilty or not.

If they are found guilty, the individual's life is effectively neutered. They can't live in certain places or even be near certain places because they are on a sex offender registry. They can't hold certain jobs. They are unlikely to get jobs that they even qualify for because of their criminal past. And all of this is in addition to the legal penalties and fines that they will be subjected to, in addition to the ultimate guilt that they will feel about the entire incident.

If they aren't guilty, this will still be a trying time in their life that may change them forever. They will still have the stigma of such an incident attached to their name for some time.

This brings us to the unfortunate story of Jim Cunneely, a teacher guilty of sexually abusing one of his students -- and who himself is also a victim of being sexually abused by his teacher when he was a student many years ago. We'll continue this in our next blog post.

Source: NJ.com, "A Teacher's Betrayal," Mark Mueller, Nov. 10, 2014

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