More than two weeks after a YouTube video surfaced of a woman accusing her former schoolteacher of sexual abuse, the teacher in the video has been arrested. She is facing 16 charges, including felony charges, related to alleged sexual molestation of two students.
Police began investigating after the video was posted on YouTube on Jan. 17. In the video, a 28-year-old woman is talking on her cellphone, which is on the speakerphone mode. On the other end is a woman that authorities say is the suspect, a 40-year-old woman who was an assistant principal at the time.
The younger woman accuses the defendant of sexual abuse, beginning when she was 12 years old and lasting until she was about 16. The suspect was the woman’s basketball coach at that time, according to CBS News. The voice on the phone admits to unspecified abuse. It is not clear from the video if the defendant was aware the conversation was being filmed. Prosecutors later said that she was not.
Some readers in Lansing may be wondering whether it is permissible for prosecutors to use a recorded conversation against a suspect, when he or she was not aware of the recording. In California, where the arrest took place, the law requires someone taping a conversation to disclose that fact to the other parties, according to KTTV-TV.
But prosecutors believe that the video should be allowable as evidence anyway, though they did not say why. Also, an exception to the statute of limitations is being made, because some of the charges carry a maximum life sentence. The abuse allegedly last took place in 2001.
The defendant resigned her assistant principal job after the video appeared. In addition, a second woman came forward with similar claims against her.
Accusations of sexual abuse against children are very serious. The woman in this case could face life in prison if convicted. Anyone who is arrested on sex crimes charges in Michigan should get in touch with a defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Source: CBS News, “Fmr. Educator Charges With Sex Assault in YouTube Case,” Feb. 4, 2014