A 22-year-old student-teacher in West Hartford, Connecticut, has been arrested for having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old male student at the school.
Tayler Boncal, who was 21 at the time, was charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault, even though she was engaged in a consensual relationship with her purported victim. In fact, the 18-year-old's parents said their son and Boncal are in love, and asked the prosecutor to drop the charges, according to WTIC TV.
Despite the fact that the age difference between the two is just three years, the relationship consensual—the victim initiated it, according to the arrest warrant—and neither party is a minor, this is considered a crime because Boncal held a position of authority at the school.
Police said their investigation began on Jan. 12 when they learned that she had the relationship with a male student from Conard High School.
She was employed by the district as a student teacher and assistant track coach at Conard at the time and living in New Britain during their relationship.
The West Hartford School System alerted New Britain police of the allegations after she was fired in December.
The young man asked Boncal for her number, they met up at her house, and as the reporter dutifully notes—because of course reporters must include the salacious, er, salient details—they fooled around on that first date (on Christmas) and "that led to sexual intercourse multiple times."
A fellow student ratted on the boyfriend, and the school resource officer—the law enforcement agent who works in the school—reported the matter to the authorities.
Conrad High School Principal Julio Duarte sent a letter to parents stating the matter had been handled, the teacher was out, and "we will not tolerate any behavior that compromises the safety or well-being of our students. I hope you will not let the misconduct of this one individual cast a shadow over all of our staff members who demonstrate their commitment to our students every day."
Now, clearly, the teacher should have recognized the danger she was putting herself in. Surely it was not a good idea to date a student.
But Boncal could face several years in jail for dating someone of a similar age—a fellow adult. If the relationship was inappropriate, it was inappropriate because of the nature of her employment at the school. She shouldn't be facing criminal charges because of it.