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Bill would prevent teachers who have committed sex crimes from teaching again

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OKLAHOMA -- State officials are trying to close a loophole in Oklahoma law to protect students from teachers who have previously been accused of sex crimes with children.

Current statutes allow teachers accused of sex crimes with students to resign - rather than being fired - as long as no charges are filed.

They can then become a teacher at a different school because districts are not allowed to ask possible employees why the they resigned from their previous position.

"Some of them have been raped by instrumentation, some of the most graphic crimes you've seen," Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) said Tuesday.

In his office at the State Capitol, a disturbing board shows several public school employees in Oklahoma who have been accused of sex crimes against students who moved to another town after the allegation.

Even after being convicted of a sex crime, some of those teachers still got another job at a school.

"That school district (says) if you resign, we won't pursue (charges)," Loveless said. "They resign and basically they go to another district and re-offend."

So Loveless has authored Senate Bill 301, which would require local school boards, not the District Attorney, to notify the State Board of Education to do their own investigation of sex crime allegations.

The state could then revoke the perpetrator's teaching certificate if found guilty.

Situations like this one is what Loveless is trying to prevent: Jennifer Sexton was allegedly sleeping with one of her middle school students in Hollis last year. She moved to Mississippi, and was eventually arrested on suspicion of statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy in a hotel room.

"When I drop my kids off at school, I don't want to find out later the school district hired someone that raped somebody," Loveless said.

He expects State Bill 301 to makes its way to the Senate floor within a couple of weeks.

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