Private Tutor – Rape Under CSC III

One of the ways a Defendant may be found guilty of third-degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is to show that defendant engaged in sexual penetration with a public or non-public school student between the ages of 16-18, and that defendant is a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee or contractual service provider of that school district. This issue is explored in People v. Kratky, where the court considers what definition to apply to the term “Teacher”.
Jayme Kratky, the defendant, was a “private voice tutor” that worked with students from Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS). The complainant was a student at a high school in TCAPS, and defendant was her private voice tutor. The Grand Traverse Circuit Court denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss the charge, on the basis that “the behavior that is criminal arises out of the special relationship with the school and the student whether or not it results in compensation” and “adults who enjoy that relationship and abuse it for sexual purposes are violating the act”. Defendant appealed the decision.
Central to this case is whether or not Defendant’s role in TCAPS qualifies as that of a teacher. As the Statute regarding CSC III does not explicitly define the term “teacher”, the Court must interpret the term’s definition based on its ordinary meaning and context. Upon testimony from the TCAPS Choral director, HR Executive director, and Superintendent it was found that Defendant was vetted by TCAPS and determined to be an acceptable tutor, was given virtually unfettered access to its schools and students both during and after school hours, and was authorized to teach students in TCAPS classrooms. Despite Defendant not being an employee of TCAPS and not having been paid by TCAPS, the Court of Appeals found that the statute was intended to protect persons of a certain age group or with certain vulnerability who encounter an individual in a position of authority, and defendant held a position of sufficient authority to be perceived as a teacher. On these grounds, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.


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