Stephen Raught, a 53-year-old high school teacher and baseball coach in Pennsylvania, has been charged for sexually assaulting a teenage student in a school classroom during the coronavirus lockdown, according to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.
Raught is accused of hugging and kissing a 17-year-old student at Owen J. Roberts High School. The two then allegedly engaged in sexual acts.
“A teacher who violates his duty of care and protection of a minor will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said in a statement. “We expect our children to be safe at school.”
From the New York Post:
“I really wish I could take you home with me,” Raught allegedly told the girl at one point. “But we both know that would be very bad and I wouldn’t be able to help myself.”
Raught also referenced the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak during the assault, prosecutors said.
“Too bad we have quarantine, or else you’d be in my classroom every day after school,” Raught allegedly told her. “But I’d be late to baseball practice every day and chances are someone would walk in and see something.”
Over the course of the past year alone, a handful of teachers have been arrested on similar charges, including 25-year-old substitute teacher Alexis Mercedes Boberg in Baltimore, Beulah High School teacher Kelsie Schmidt in North Dakota, Rancocas Valley Regional High School teacher Alexandra Reiner in New Jersey, and 50-year-old Florida substitute teacher Angela Jean Stanton in Florida. Additionally, Texas teachers Meredith Null and Edna Longoria were arrested on similar charges.
As for why the number of these incidents has seemingly increased, studies suggest that smartphones are the primary reason for the spike in illicit relationships, as it allows teachers to communicate with the minors without supervision.
According to a report from the Texas Education Association, smartphones make easy for teachers to privately text and talk with students and also make it possible for teachers and students to share explicit images.