Bill to close teacher-student sex loophole clears Senate
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A bill prohibiting sexual contact between New Hampshire teachers and students regardless of a student’s age is back on track after a rocky path toward passage.
Lawmakers proposed multiple bills in response to the arrest last year of Concord High School teacher Primo “Howie” Leung, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting a student off school property in Massachusetts in 2015 and 2016. In a separate incident, students reported seeing him kiss a different student in Concord in 2018, but school officials did not notify police because state law allows teenagers 16 and older to consent to such contact if they are not being coerced.
While there was bipartisan support for closing that loophole, differences emerged over the scope of the legislation.
One version would have applied only to teachers and students at the same school, while others would also criminalize sexual contact between teens ages 16 or 17 and anyone in a position of authority outside of school, including coaches, clergy and scout leaders.
With time running out on the legislative session, the effort appeared stalled until Monday, when the Senate passed a bill closer to the broader version. It now goes back to the House.