#teacher | Massachusetts rape case sparks bills in N.H. to ban sexual contact between teachers, students – Sentinel and Enterprise

Lawmakers in New Hampshire submitted a pair of bills to the state Senate this month that would close a loophole in their sexual assault laws by criminalizing any sexual contact between school officials and students less than a year after a former Concord, N.H., high school teacher was arrested in Massachusetts and charged with raping a child.

“I hope we can all agree that it is never appropriate for a teacher to engage in any sort of romantic or sexual relationship with a student,” N.H. Gov. Christopher Sununu wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, urging it to pass the legislation. “Every child deserves to go to school, be on the playing field, attend summer camp and visit a place of worship without being subject to predatory behavior.”

The bills were introduced Jan. 8 and would amend the state’s current law, which prohibits sexual contact involving people in positions of authority, to include employees at primary or secondary educational institutions, and would outlaw those employees from having sexual contact with anyone under 18. Presently, the age of consent in New Hampshire is 16.

In his letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sununu said he was troubled by “an incident between the teacher and student who attended Concord High School,” which was not considered a crime and thereby not reported to authorities because the student had reached the age of consent.

In April, former special education teacher at Concord High School, Primo “Howie” Leung, was arrested on a warrant out of Newton District Court for two counts of aggravated child rape.

Primo Leung, a New Hampshire teacher charged with raping a child while working at a Newton summer camp was ordered held without bail at Newton District Court on April 17, 2019 in Newton, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Leung, who also headed the English Language Learners summer boarding camp at the Fessenden School in Newton, is accused of sexually abusing a former middle school student at the camp and in New Hampshire.

At his arraignment, Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Radu Brestyan said that in December 2018, Concord school officials learned of allegations that Leung, who is in his 30s, had also been seen engaging in “inappropriate behavior” with a high school senior.

“I urge this Committee, followed by the full Senate and House of Representatives, to find the most comprehensive language to close this loophole in our law,” Sununu wrote. “No child is freely able to give consent in cases where a person has authority or control over them.”

The bills are in committee.


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