A Jacksonville high school teacher is facing up to 60 years in prison if found guilty of having a sexual relationship with one of her students at Atlantic Coast High School. Danielle Reed, 23, was arrested last week and charged with two counts of sexual battery in Duval County with a victim between the ages of 12 and 18, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The charge is a first-degree felony in Florida and Reed faces up to 30 years in prison on each count. One indication of where a sentence could land, though certainly not foolproof, is what a judge decides to do in terms of a bond. In this case, the judge released Reed on her own recognizance. That means she does not have to pay any money to be released from jail awaiting a trial – almost unheard of for a person facing two first-degree felony charges. The judge did set several conditions on her release, including a 9 p.m. curfew and that she live with her parents in a nearby county, have no contact with the alleged victim and not go to schools or other place where teens congregate.
Reed had been a teacher in Duval County schools for less than a year, according to the newspaper report. Reed is accused of posing as the mother of a friend of the alleged victim so the alleged victim could spend the night at her house, the newspaper reported. The age of the alleged victim has not been released, but most students are at least 14 before they start high school. Whether the teen-aged boy was a willing participant in the sexual activity or not, it is still a crime for an adult such as Reed to have sexual contact with someone who is under the age of 18. Right or wrong, cases like Reed’s are usually treated far differently than they would be if a 23-year-old male teacher was accused of a sexual relationship with a teen student. It’d be tough to imagine a man in a similar case being allowed to just live at his parents’ house instead of sitting in jail waiting for the case to resolve, either in a trial or through a plea agreement. And once the cases work out, many of the women with charges similar to Reed’s do not end up spending time in jail or prison. And an appellate court ruled earlier this year that a judge erred in granting the early termination of probation for infamous Tampa teacher Debra Lafave, who was supposed to serve seven years of Florida sexual offender probation as part of her 2008 plea deal in the case.
An Experienced Jacksonville Sex Attorney understands the varying degrees of sexual assault cases and how some of the variables – including the age and gender both the defendant and the victim – can change how the crime is perceived in the eyes of the court. Our Jacksonville Sexual Battery Lawyer has represented hundreds of defendants accused of sex crimes and will look closely at all of the factors and provide you or a loved one with the best options to choose from going forward.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Sex Crimes Lawyer, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.