I have written before about the controversial position taken by the Georgia Supreme Court in June about the status of sex between teachers and students over the age of sixteen. Well, the story continues. The Cobb County district attorney has decided to move forward in the case of Steven Martin Parkman.
The DA has taken this step in spite of a controversial State Supreme Court. The court decided in the similar case of Christopher King last week that relationships between teenage students and teachers were “gross” and “awful” but not illegal.
Earlier this month, Superior Court Judge Robert Flournoy ruled that Christopher King – a former Marietta High School teacher – was not guilty of sexual assault when he engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with his seventeen year old female student.
While this conclusion could be seen as continuing a trend toward legal – if not social – protection for sexual relationships between teachers and their students as long as those students are over the age of consent, the DA does not see this issue as settled.
Cobb County DA Pat Head has openly said that he disagrees with Judge Flournoy’s ruling. He says that he still plans on to move forward in the Parkman case.
“The judge and I differ on our opinion about whether expert testimony regarding consent is a factual issue for the jury or not,” Head said. “Obviously, I think it is and he does not.”
Parkman, thirty-four, is a former high school orchestra teacher who resigned from his position in lieu of termination before his arrest. He is accused of having consensual sex with his own seventeen year old student.
More than that, Head plans to ask the grand jury to Parkman and add a sodomy charge to those already facing the former teacher.
Parkman’s lawyer, Noah Pines, called the continued prosecution of his client “ridiculous.”
Pines defends his client by citing letters, texts and posts on the networking site Facebook which indicate that the alleged victim consented to her relationship with Parkman. The logic being that, consistent with the previous rulings, since the alleged victim was over the state of Georgia’s age of consent sex between the two was not illegal as long as the girl was a willing participant.
Pines says that he will file a motion to dismiss the sodomy charges on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.
“If they present the case on sodomy, they are selectively prosecuting my client,” he said. “The law applies to anyone who gives or receives [oral sex]. She is just as guilty as my client.”
Sodomy is a felony, and if found guilty, Parkman could face as little as one year or as many as 20 years in prison. In either event, it would lead to a lifetime on the sex offender registry. The punishment for oral sex is much harsher than the misdemeanor crime of public indecency.
Parkman admits to having had sex with his student in the orchestra room at the school where he taught and in his car.