• Germany's news in English

Teacher-student sex ban to be tightened

The Local · 15 Nov 2012, 10:37

Published: 15 Nov 2012 10:37 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The German Federal Court of Justice has previously held that a teacher must be in a position to potentially influence the student over a "longer period of time" in order to face criminal punishment.

This sort of custodial relationship was deemed to apply to teachers in the classroom, but not to substitute instructors or teachers who serve as chaperones on field trips.

In one case, a 32-year-old teacher in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate was acquitted last December after engaging in a sexual affair with a 14-year-old female student, whom he met while chaperoning a field trip.

The appeals court in Koblenz found that the man's behaviour was "inappropriate, indecent and irresponsible," but said he was not culpable, since there was no "custodial relationship" with the student, who thus did not qualify as a ward.

Now state justice ministers from Germany's 16 federal states are looking to tighten the rules, Die Welt newspaper said on Wednesday, ahead of the ministers' annual meeting on Thursday.

Hesse deputy state premier Jörg-Uwe Hahn, who chairs the Justice Ministers' Conference, told the paper that officials agreed on the need for clarification.

"In the future, this rule will not only apply to the classroom teacher specifically, but also to all teachers within a school," he said.

If the penal code is revised, culpability would not hinge on whether the teacher in question is a substitute - and the rules would also apply to adult caregivers in other kinds of institutions, such as children's homes.

"This behaviour is indecent and should therefore be subject to tougher criminal penalties in future," Hahn told Die Welt.

Story continues below…

The states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria will reportedly be in charge of drawing up a draft law - but it is still an open question whether Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger will back the plan.

The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:09 November 15, 2012 by lucksi
"In one case, a 32-year-old teacher in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate was acquitted last December after engaging in a sexual affair with a 14-year-old female student"


The age of consent is 16, who cares what the rules about teacher-student sex says.

And yes, the age of consent if 14 if the other party is under 18, if you are feeling nitpicky, but the dude was 32.
15:59 November 15, 2012 by Omufu
Ja exactly! They left out the minor detail (excuse the pun) of her being 14. I don't know what to think. Are they saying that it's legally ok, or generally ok? Where I'm from anything like that would get the teacher so badly fired, legal or not.
16:53 November 15, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ lucksi

Can you please point out where you found the age of consent to be 16? Here is what I found:

Strafgesetzbuch (StGB): § 176 Sexueller Mißbrauch von Kindern

"Wer sexuelle Handlungen an einer Person unter vierzehn Jahren (Kind) vornimmt oder an sich von dem Kind vornehmen läßt, wird mit Freiheitsstrafe von sechs Monaten bis zu zehn Jahren bestraft." http://dejure.org/gesetze/StGB/176.html

Subsequently, § 182 (2) of the same German Criminal Code says "A person over twenty-one years of age who abuses a person under sixteen years of age, in that he: 1. commits sexual acts on the person or allows them to be committed on himself by the person; or 2. induces the person to commit sexual acts on a third person or to allow them to be committed on the person by a third person, and thereby exploits the victim's lack of capacity for sexual self-determination, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine. [...] The act shall only be prosecuted upon complaint, unless the prosecuting authority considers ex officio that it is required to enter the case because of the special public interest therein."

So under 16 it is punishable only if it is about exploiting the victim's lack of capacity for sexual self-determination and the victim files a complain. Otherwise 14 is the age of consent, disregarding the age of the other party.
20:26 November 15, 2012 by StoutViking
When a 32 year old is looking for sex partners while chaperoning field trips, it should raise a lot of questions. When he picks up a 14 year old for a ride, that's sexual grooming of adolescents. He's the responsible adult, he should know better but instead he uses the legal concent age of 14 as a fig leaf.

The fact that a 14 year old agreed to his advances is exactly the point where lack of capacity for sexual self-determination comes to act.

Then again, with magazines like "Bravo" where girls as young as 12 ask about how to engage in anal sex with their 19 year old "partner" and get an answer, instead of a request to turn to help... Go figure.
22:34 November 15, 2012 by lucksi
@ChrisRea: I stand corrected. I think. If I understood what "exploiting the victim's lack of capacity for sexual self-determination" exactly means.
07:58 November 16, 2012 by insight101
Wow! Great to see Germany continue to inch its way forward out of the Dark Ages....
10:10 November 16, 2012 by Ectherion
In Germay the age of consent is 14. You could like it or not, but that is the fact.

I don't know what is the AoC in US, but I assume 16. Therefore maybe for u guys this is unacceptable... but hey, at this age they are already married in some contries.
Today's headlines
Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd