Dow urges legislation to close loophole when a teacher pursues a sexual relationship with a student

SAN LUIS OBISPO — San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow and State Senator John Laird, who represents the Central Coast, met to discuss public safety legislation that is pending before the California Legislature in Sacramento.

At the top of the agenda, District Attorney Dow presented Senator Laird with a letter addressed to him and to Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham urging them to sponsor legislation in the next session that would make it a crime for a teacher, coach, or youth services worker to have a sexual relationship with a student under their care no matter the age.

This legislation would close a loophole that currently exists when a teacher pursues a sexual relationship with a student who is 18 years of age or older.

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DA Dow also urged the Senator to sponsor a similar bill that would make it a crime for a law enforcement officer to have a sexual relationship with a victim of crime who the officer met during the performance of their duties as a law enforcement professional. Victims of crime who report their victimization are vulnerable and should never be taken advantage of.

“I am grateful to have a solid working relationship with our local and state elected officials on issues of common ground such as public safety and victims’ rights,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “Students in our schools and vulnerable victims should never be taken advantage of for sexual exploitation by teachers, coaches, or law enforcement professionals. I am hopeful that the Legislature will take action to close these loopholes as soon as possible. I look forward to working with both Senator Laird and Assemblymember Cunningham on these proposals before the next session begins.”

You may view DA Dow’s letter to Senator Laird and Assemblymember Cunningham here.

Senator Laird also received a brief tour of the District Attorney’s Office and met several staff members, including legal clerks, attorneys, and victim advocates, as well as Edgar the Courthouse Dog.