Anderson v. State

In Anderson v. State,[1] the court of appeals held that an intimate relationship between a minor and a high school music teacher indicted on sexual abuse constituted a crime of domestic violence, therefore qualifying for a statutory exception to spousal immunity from adverse testimony.  A music teacher allegedly engaged in sexual relations on school grounds with a 15-year-old student for several months in 2014.  Following grand jury indictment of the teacher for multiple counts of sexual assault, the State indicated that it intended to call the teacher’s wife as a witness, specifically in regard to admissions the teacher made to her about his acts.  The wife asserted spousal immunity under Alaska Evidence Rule 505(b).  The state responded that Rule 505(b)’s exception for a crime of domestic violence applied to this case.  The lower court ruled for the state, concluding that under section 18.66.990 of the Alaska Statutes, the relationship between the student and teacher made the student a household member, and so the crime was one of domestic violence.  On appeal, the wife argued that domestic violence should be given its everyday meaning centered around a familial relationship, and that the student and her husband could not be in a recognized relationship because the student was not old enough to consent.  The court of appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling.  It reasoned that the statute’s plain language evidenced an intent to define anyone dating, or engaged in a sexual relationship, to be a household member regardless of the legality of this relationship.  The court explained that the legislature intended to broaden legal protection to victims.  It noted however that this language did not create an “any child” exception to the privilege, and that only the legislature could broaden the exception to that degree. The court concluded that the sexual or romantic relationship between the student and teacher, made the student a household member, and so the sexual assault was a crime of domestic violence, and spousal privilege was inapplicable.  Affirming the ruling of the lower court, the court of appeals held that an intimate relationship between a minor and a high school music teacher indicted on sexual abuse constituted a crime of domestic violence, which fell under exemptions to spousal immunity from adverse testimony.

 

 

[1] No. A-12600, 2018 WL 6582628 (Alaska Ct. App. Dec. 14, 2018).

Anderson v. State

In Anderson v. State,[1] the court of appeals held that an intimate relationship between a minor and a high school music teacher indicted on sexual abuse constituted a crime of domestic violence, therefore qualifying for a statutory exception to spousal immunity from adverse testimony.  A music teacher allegedly engaged in sexual relations on school grounds with a 15-year-old student for several months in 2014.  Following grand jury indictment of the teacher for multiple counts of sexual assault, the State indicated that it intended to call the teacher’s wife as a witness, specifically in regard to admissions the teacher made to her about his acts.  The wife asserted spousal immunity under Alaska Evidence Rule 505(b).  The state responded that Rule 505(b)’s exception for a crime of domestic violence applied to this case.  The lower court ruled for the state, concluding that under section 18.66.990 of the Alaska Statutes, the relationship between the student and teacher made the student a household member, and so the crime was one of domestic violence.  On appeal, the wife argued that domestic violence should be given its everyday meaning centered around a familial relationship, and that the student and her husband could not be in a recognized relationship because the student was not old enough to consent.  The court of appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling.  It reasoned that the statute’s plain language evidenced an intent to define anyone dating, or engaged in a sexual relationship, to be a household member regardless of the legality of this relationship.  The court explained that the legislature intended to broaden legal protection to victims.  It noted however that this language did not create an “any child” exception to the privilege, and that only the legislature could broaden the exception to that degree. The court concluded that the sexual or romantic relationship between the student and teacher, made the student a household member, and so the sexual assault was a crime of domestic violence, and spousal privilege was inapplicable.  Affirming the ruling of the lower court, the court of appeals held that an intimate relationship between a minor and a high school music teacher indicted on sexual abuse constituted a crime of domestic violence, which fell under exemptions to spousal immunity from adverse testimony.

 

 

[1] No. A-12600, 2018 WL 6582628 (Alaska Ct. App. Dec. 14, 2018).