Legislature closes loophole that allowed teachers to have sex with students over 18 years-old

8th District legislators work together to successfully protect all students at school

The House of Representatives today voted 82-16 to close a loophole in current law that allows teachers to have sex with students over 18 years-old.

Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, prime sponsored House Bill 1385, while Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, sponsored similar legislation in the Senate.

The bill includes language to protect students up to 21 years of age from sexual predators employed by the school district.  The new language would apply to both first and second degree sexual misconduct with a minor.

Haler issued the following statement after today’s House vote:

“I introduced this legislation early on in the session.  It’s been a long road but to have this legislation pass the Legislature and sent to the governor’s desk is truly one of the highlights of my legislative career.

“As elected officials, one of our paramount duties is to protect our citizens.  Keeping our families, communities and students safe is of the highest priority.

“I am absolutely ecstatic that my colleagues in both the House and Senate have agreed that we need to extend legal protection to all of our students, no matter their ages.  With many of our students staying in school well past 18-years of age, it was absolutely imperative that we close this loophole.”

Delvin issued this statement:

“The parents of the Tri-Cities never let me forget for one minute that this was a fight for the safety of their kids.  All day, every day they entrust their children to teachers and school employees who have pledged to keep their children safe.  Today’s legislation makes it crystal clear that all students in Washington state secondary schools are protected from teacher sexual misconduct to age 21, the age limit for secondary school children.  I particularly wanted to protect the students with developmental disabilities and this legislation will do it.”

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For more information, contact: Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7698, or
Pat Albright, Public Information Officer: (360) 786-7519


Washington State House Republican Communications