Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Georgia Teacher Accused of Sexually Harassing a Student

Posted by Richard Lawson | Mar 09, 2018 | 0 Comments

Ryan Harvey, a former Henry County high school teacher, was indicted on Thursday on the following charges:

  • One count aggravated child molestation,
  • Two counts of sexual battery against a child,
  • And three counts of electronically furnishing obscene material to a minor.

According to reports, Harvey (24) allegedly sent a 15 year old student sexual messages on Snapchat and groped him twice. The student revealed during the investigation that the sexual harassment occurred from July to December of 2017. 

Now the charges listed above are intense and horrifying, but the reality is that some people are wrongfully charged. No one should be considered guilty just because they are charged with a crime. A lot of times, accused people do not even receive a fair chance because they are judged as guilty before they're given a chance to defend themselves. 

Let's jump into each of the above mentioned charges to see what they mean and what punishments Harvey is facing if he is convicted. 

Aggravated Child Molestation 

The Georgia Code defines aggravated child molestation in Georgia as when a person commit the act of child molestation (does any immoral or indecent act to or in the presence of or with any child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the person; or by means of an electronic device, transmits images of a person engaging in, inducing, or otherwise participating in any immoral or indecent act to a child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the person O.C.G.A. §16-6-4(a)1-2) and that act “physically injures the child or involves an act of sodomy” (O.C.G.A. §16-6-4(c)). 

In order for Harvey to be convicted, the state of Georgia must show that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by demonstrating that he committed an immoral or indecent act to the 15 year old student, and that the act either resulted in a physical injury of the child or involved an act of sodomy. 

If convicted, Harvey is facing a felony and the punishment can include a life sentence in prison or a split sentence (minimum of 25 years followed by probation for life). 

Sexual Battery Against a Child

The Georgia Code defines sexual battery in Georgia as when a person “intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts (primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and breasts of female) of another person without the consent of that person” (O.C.G.A. §16-6-22). 

A sexual battery conviction means that the convicted person is guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. But if the victim is a child under the age of 16 then the crime is a felony. So if convicted, Harvey will be facing a felony and a prison sentence of one to five years. 

Electronically Furnishing Obscene Material to a Minor

Georgia is a state that heavily penalizes any obscenity-related crimes especially when these crimes involve children. Georgia uses a three part known as the Miller test from a 1973 Supreme Court case to determine whether or not material qualifies as obscene. 

  • Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, taken as a whole, it predominately appeals to the prurient interest, that is, a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion
  • Whether the material taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; and
  • Whether the material depicts or describes in a patently offensive, way sexual conduct, as specifically defined by applicable state law. (O.C.G.A. §16-12-80)

The Georgia Code defines electronically furnishing obscene material to a minor as if a person “knowing or having good reason to know the character of the material furnished, the person electronically furnishes to an individual whom the person knows or should have known is a minor any picture, photograph, drawing, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of a human body which depicts sexually explicit nudity, sexual conduct, or sadomasochistic abuse and which is harmful to minors” (O.C.G.A. §16-12-100). 

If convicted, Harvey is facing a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

With any of these crimes, if Harvey is convicted, he will be required to register as a Sex Offender in the state of Georgia. 

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, sex crimes in Georgia are easily judged and even if wrongfully accused, it is still a highly devastating experience. Our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys know that no one is guilty just because he or she has been accused of a crime. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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