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SC Sex Scandal: Dawn Diimmler Shouldn’t Be Charged

Reiterating one of our news site’s most controversial editorial positions …

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Once again, this news site finds itself coming to the defense of a school employee staring down criminal charges in connection with an alleged inappropriate sexual relationship involving a student.

Dawn Diimmler, 44, is (or was) an assistant principal at Airport High School – part of school district two of Lexington County, South Carolina.

On February 12 of this year, Diimmler was fired from her job as a result an alleged relationship with a 19-year-old student at the school.  This relationship is said to have taken place between March 10 and June 2 of last year.

According to the district, Diimmler “was terminated following the district’s investigation into allegations that she might be involved in an unprofessional relationship with a student.”

Makes sense, right?

Yes, it does.  And as far as we’re concerned, that should have been the end of it.  Especially considering the student in question was, like Diimmler, a consenting adult.

Seriously, this isn’t complicated stuff: A school receives information regarding specific allegations, conducts an investigation into those allegations, reviews the findings of its investigation and reaches a decision regarding the employee in question.

And assuming Diimmler in fact had sex with this student, we believe the school district reached the appropriate decision regarding her employment status.

(Click to view)

(Via: Cola Daily)

But in South Carolina, this is obviously not the end of it.

“During (its) investigation, the district became aware of facts indicating the possibility of criminal activity,” the statement added.

Wait … criminal activity?

That’s right …

Diimmler is facing two felony counts of sexual battery over allegations that she engaged in intercourse with her student lover student on school property – and off campus as well.

Hold up … sexual battery?  The last time we checked the age of consent in South Carolina was sixteen.  Meaning Diimmler and the student allegedly involved in this tryst were well within their legal rights to have as much sex as they wanted with each other – assuming it was consensual.

They are accountable to their families, obviously, and in Diimmler’s case she was held accountable by her employer (as she should have been).

But they have no business being held accountable to the law.

Unfortunately, in South Carolina the law is seeking to hold Diimmler accountable … to the tune of up to ten years behind bars, assuming she’s found guilty of both felony counts.

(Click to view)

(Via: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

According to S.C. Code § 16-3-755, “if a person affiliated with a public or private secondary school in an official capacity has direct supervisory authority over a student enrolled in the school who is eighteen years of age or older, and the person affiliated with the public or private secondary school in an official capacity engages in sexual battery with the student, and aggravated coercion or aggravated force is not used to accomplish the sexual battery, the person affiliated with the public or private secondary school in an official capacity is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than five years.”

For years, this news site has railed against this law – which effectively criminalizes consensual sex on the basis of one person’s employment status.

As we noted last summer in response to a student-teacher sex scandal in North Carolina, “we don’t think government shouldn’t spend tax dollars prosecuting and incarcerating people for consensual sex.”

Why not?

Because consensual sex is not illegal …

Obviously we believe schools should adopt zero tolerance policies when it comes to banning consensual sex between teachers (or administrators) and students – and we believe teachers or administrators who have sex with their students should never be allowed near a school again.

But criminal charges for sexual battery?  That’s overkill … clogging our courts and subjecting taxpayers to costs they should not be required to bear.

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We understand the intent of this law.  It seeks to prevent those in positions of authority at government-run schools from abusing these positions in the furtherance of their own sexual gratification.

And that makes sense … although this particular law is specifically geared toward instances in which there is no “coercion” or “force,” which would seem to discount the whole “abuse” angle.

Obviously if a teacher or administrator manipulates a student of any age into having sex with them (i.e. threatening to suspend them or give them bad grades if they don’t engage in the affair), that should be illegal.

But again, that would be the definition of coercion …

Also that would strike us as a textbook example of misconduct in office … which we believe is what teachers or school administrators who engage in coercive sexual relationships should be charged with (assuming there is evidence to support such coercion).

Under no circumstances, though, should consenting adults ever be charged with a felony for having sex …

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