A junior high school English teacher and coach in Sallisaw, Oklahoma was charged with rape. Twenty nine year old Brandy Lynn Foreman was arrested after Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office deputies determined they had probable cause to charge with having sex with two teenage students.
Foreman was previously both boys’ teacher although not at the time of the assault. Both were still students at the school, however. She allegedly had sex with the boys a total of five to ten times beginning in December 2017. One of the boys was 16 when the sexual encounters began. We believe the other was 17.
The age of consent is 16 in Oklahoma, however that doesn’t apply to sex between teachers and students.
In most states, sexual relations between a teacher and a student is considered a sexual assault even if the sex was otherwise consensual. The law in most states say that because of the power that teachers have over students, consent laws don’t apply.
Consent under Oklahoma Laws
According to Oklahoma law (Oklahoma Statutes §21-111), sexual intercourse is considered rape:
- Where the victim is under sixteen (16) years of age;
- Where the victim is incapable through mental illness or any other unsoundness of mind, whether temporary or permanent, of giving legal consent;
- Where force or violence is used or threatened, accompanied by apparent power of execution to the victim or to another person;
- Where the victim is intoxicated by a narcotic or anesthetic agent, administered by or with the privity of the accused as a means of forcing the victim to submit;
- Where the victim is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act and this fact is known to the accused;
- Where the victim submits to sexual intercourse under the belief that the person committing the act is a spouse, and this belief is induced by artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the accused or by the accused in collusion with the spouse with intent to induce that belief. In all cases of collusion between the accused and the spouse to accomplish such act, both the spouse and the accused, upon conviction, shall be deemed guilty of rape;
- Where the victim is under the legal custody or supervision of a state agency, a federal agency, a county, a municipality or a political subdivision and engages in sexual intercourse with a state, federal, county, municipal or political subdivision employee or an employee of a contractor of the state, the federal government, a county, a municipality or a political subdivision that exercises authority over the victim;
- Where the victim is at least sixteen (16) years of age and is less than twenty (20) years of age and is a student, or under the legal custody or supervision of any public or private elementary or secondary school, junior high or high school, or public vocational school, and engages in sexual intercourse with a person who is eighteen (18) years of age or older and is an employee of the same school system; or
- Where the victim is nineteen (19) years of age or younger and is in the legal custody of a state agency, federal agency or tribal court and engages in sexual intercourse with a foster parent or foster parent applicant.
As noted above, a school employee cannot have sex with a student who is 19 or younger if the student is part of the same school system as the school employee. As drafted, the law extends to all school employees including coaches, janitors, aides, principals and bus drivers. It is not limited to teachers.
There is no consent at any age if the victim is in custody or legal supervision of a government agency or contractor. Typically this exception applies to prison guards and jailers who have sex with inmates.
Foreman denied having sex with either of the two young men. She claimed that she merely hugged them. During a subsequent interview she allegedly changed her story and admitted to having sexual relations.
A school district spokesperson said Brandy Foreman has been placed on administrative leave. According to a statement, “One of the Central School District’s top priorities is to provide a safe learning environment for its students. The District is now reviewing the results of the investigation and will take appropriate steps based on the results of the investigation.”
Ms. Foreman pled not guilty and was released on a $20,000 bond.
Stories like this are becoming more commonplace. There is universal agreement that sex with young students is a serious crime. We are surprised, however, about how many people believe that no crime occurs once the student reaches the age of consent (16 in Oklahoma).
Sex with students is almost never legal in any state. As noted above, it is legal in Oklahoma only if consensual and the student was at least 20 years old.
Obtaining Justice for Students Sexually Assaulted by Teachers
First degree rape in Oklahoma is punishable by 5 years to life in prison. Generally, rape is a first degree felony if force was used, the victim was 13 or younger, the victim was drugged or mentally incapable of consent. All other rapes are considered to be in the 2nd degree and punishable by 1 to 15 years in prison.
While seeing the offender arrested and put be behind bars may bring closure to the victim and their families, it does not compensate the victim for the emotional pain and trauma suffered.
Suing the teacher or school employee responsible for the sexual assault probably won’t help. The ability of the offender to pay any type of meaningful judgment is doubtful. Job prospects in prison or for a convicted felon and registered sex offender aren’t great either.
There is hope, however. Often we can hold the board of education and school administrators responsible for the misbehavior of the staff member who committed the assault. Schools have a duty to carefully screen applicants, train them and ensure assaults like this do not happen.
Often only the school districts have deep pockets or insurance.
If you or a loved one were sexually assaulted by a teacher, janitor, bus driver, coach or principal, contact us immediately. Victims of assault only have one year to file suit in Oklahoma. (The general personal injury statute of limitations is two years but is reduced to one year for assaults.) If the victim was a minor at the time of the assault, the time periods do not begin until the victim’s 18th birthday or five years after the offender is released from prison.
(Were you the victim of a sexual assault in another state? Visit our How Long Do I Have to Sue for Sexual Assault information page.)
There are special rules when the person or organization you are suing is a government employee.
Are You the Victim of a Sexual Assault or Rape in Oklahoma?
Sexual assault usually causes devastating effects on the victim and the victim’s family. This is especially true when the victim is a student and was assaulted by a teacher or coach.
As a victim of sexual assault, you are entitled to monetary compensation for physical, mental, and emotional damages as well as lost wages and medical / counseling expenses. In many instances, punitive damages may also be available. As noted above, if the assault took place on school property or was committed by a school employee, the school district and administrators may also be liable for your injuries and damages.
To get the maximum compensation for your injuries, you need lawyers who are both aggressive and experienced. Brian Mahany and his handpicked team have a long history of pursuing sex offenders. Brian is a former police officer, prosecutor, and board member of the Family Violence Project. He is also a former volunteer with the Sexual Assault Crisis and Assault Center.
If you are the victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape or unwanted sexual contact by a teacher, school official, coach, school chaperone or bus driver, call us. Brian and his network of sexual assault lawyers can be reached online, by email [hidden email] or by phone at 888.249.6944. All inquiries are kept strictly confidential.
Disclaimer: We remind that readers that Foreman is presumed innocent until proven guilty. We also note that the information presented on this site is offered for general information only. Laws change frequently. Nothing in this post is a substitute for a consultation with a lawyer. Our consultations are without obligation or fee.