Senate closes teacher loophole over sexual abuse

By Oregon State Senator Bill Hansell,

‘Bailey’s Bill’ Approved by Senate, Closes Teacher Sexual Abuse Loophole
Senate Bill 649 would increase penalties for teachers who sexually abuse students

The Senate passed SB 649 by a unanimous vote. ‘Bailey’s Bill’ would close a loophole in state law that lets teachers off with lighter penalties than coaches for sexually abusing students.

The legislation is named after Bailey Munck, a student at Weston-McEwen High School in Athena. In 2019, she was sexually abused by her English teacher after a state playoff volleyball game in Coquille. The teacher was the scorekeeper for the volleyball team.

After pleading guilty to sexual harassment and touching, her abuser spent only 2 days in jail and 5 years probation. He did not have to register as a sex offender. If he would have been Bailey’s coach, he would have been convicted of a Class C felony and received up to 5 years in jail and a $125,000 fine. Because he was Bailey’s teacher, he barely got a slap on the wrist. SB 649 would put teachers on the same level as coaches for penalties of crimes of sexual abuse in the third degree.

“This is a common-sense bill that will protect our kids,” Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena), the author of the legislation, said. “Bailey has courageously told her story, now it’s time for us to act so that she can get justice. Those in positions of influence over our kids need to be held accountable when they violate their trust. Thanks to the help of Senator Taylor (D-Milwaukie), I am proud to have gotten this legislation passed in the Senate. I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this bill.”