Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Teacher suing Spotsylvania County School Board in Federal Court
A teacher convicted of having consensual sex with a student in 1993 is suing the Virginia State Police and the Spotsylvania School Board on charges that the state unfairly requires her to register for life as a sex offender, and the school system prohibits her from being on school property unless she identifies herself.
The lawsuit, which names the woman as Spotsylvania resident “Jane Doe”, states that the plaintiff cannot attend school functions because her charge in 1993 was reclassified as a “sexually violent” charge in 2008.
The lawsuit states that Doe has a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, and a 9-year-old stepchild who are not allowed to participate in after-school activities because Doe cannot pick the children up from school property.
She is asking the federal court to reverse the reclassification of her charge. She also wants the school system to end its policy that requires her to reveal her identity before she can be on school grounds.
In 1993, Jane Doe was convicted of carnal knowledge of a minor without the use of force in violation of Va. Code § 18.2-63 and sentenced to two-years incarceration with all but 30 days suspended. Jane Doe, who at the time was immature for her age, had a sexual relationship with a student, who was mature for his age. Jane Doe was not considered a dangerous individual at the time of the unlawful conduct or at any time thereafter.
11. In 1994, the Virginia General Assembly enacted Va. Code § 19.2-298.1 (repealed), which required Jane Doe to register as a sex offender in the Registry. Jane Doe registered as she was required. Va. Code § 19.2-298.1 was repealed on July 1,2003 and Va. Code § 9.1-902 was enacted and became effective on that date.
12. On July 1,2008, an amendment to Va. Code §9.1 -902 became effective whereby Jane Doe’s offense of conviction was reclassified as a sexually violent offense. Prior to the 2008 amendment, violation of Va. Code § 18.2-63 was not classified as a sexually violent offense unless the individual had two or more prior convictions for that offense, which Jane Doe did not. Based on the 2008 amendment, violation of Va. Code § 18.2-63 for nonforcible carnal knowledge of a minor was reclassified as a sexually violent offense when the individual was more than five years older than the minor, which Jane Doe was.
13. Jane Doe was not afforded any procedure by which she could contest her reclassification before the State Police and Colonel Flaherty reclassified her and made that reclassification publicly available on the Registry. Jane Doe also was not afforded any procedure after the State Police and Colonel Flaherty reclassified her. Jane Doe was afforded no procedure to contest her reclassification based on the facts of her offense and her specific characteristics, including that she is not a dangerous individual.
14. Because of her 2008 reclassification, approximately fifteen years after her offense, Jane Doe now has a continuing duty to register for life under Va. Code § 9.1-908. Prior to that amendment, Va. Code § 9.1-910 allowed Jane Doe to petition the circuit court in the jurisdiction in which she then resided or was convicted to have her name and all identifying information removed from the Registry.
Because of her 2008 reclassification, Jane Doe is prohibited from “entering and being present, during school hours and during school-related and school-sponsored activities” on any property that is a public or private school or a child day center under Va. Code § 18.2-370.5, the lawsuit states.
You can read the lawsuit here.