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Felony charges against one Texas man have revealed a confusing set of laws in that state.
So it seems it’s perfectly legal in Texas to have sex with someone as young as 17 years old. But having nude photos of anyone under 18 is considered child pornography.
Authorities said a 51-year-old High School math tutor is facing 20 years in prison and may have to register as a sex offender for life because a 17-year-old student texted him topless photos, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The suspect, Aldo Leiva, was reportedly in a consensual sexual relationship with the girl. This was not an issue since she met the legal age of consent when the two began dating last summer, according to the Chronicle.
The problem surfaced, however, when the girl’s mother found explicit pictures on her daughter’s mobile phone which led to an investigation by the Houston Independent School District Police Department. Nude images of the girl were allegedly recovered from the tutor’s phone, which he unlocked for police, the Chronicle reported.
Having the photos on his phone meant Leiva would be charged with possession of child pornography, even though the 17 year-old is considered old enough to date the man who is decades older. And because, in phone messages, Leiva asked the girl to send photos, he is charged with sexual performance by a child for allegedly “inducing” her.
“We entrust our educators with the care of all children, and that includes 17-year-olds,” said Assistant District Attorney Patrick Stayton. “It’s someone who was placed in a position to do a job and that job did not include developing inappropriate relationships with students that were in his care.”
Leiva’s attorney was working on lifting a no-contact order signed by the judge, the Chronicle reported.
“She’s indicated to me that she wants to continue to have contact with him,” said Gary Tabakman. “I would say that the aspects of this case are consensual, across the board.”
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