Bill Seeks Tougher Penalties For Teen-Adult Sex
Two Montgomery County lawmakers want stiffer penalties for adult authority figures who have sex with minors. State Representatives Josh Shapiro and Mike Vereb are sponsoring a bill that would make it a felony for a teacher, coach or youth organization instructor to have sex with anyone under the age of 18. Under current law it’s a felony for an adult to have sex with anyone under the age of 16, but having sex with a 16 or 17-year-old is a less serious misdemeanor offense of corrupting minors. In one recent case a former North Penn High School teacher admitted having sex about a year ago with a 17-year-old boy who was in her eleventh grade homeroom. 37-year-old Heather Lynne Zeo of Warrington pleaded guilty to corrupting minors. The boy told detectives they kissed and petted in her classroom when no one else was around, and they had sex one time in the back seat of her minivan in a Montgomery Township shopping center parking lot. Prosecutors are seeking jail time, but state sentencing guidelines allow probation. District Attorney Risa Ferman says parents sending their teenagers to school or various organized activities need to know their children are safe and protected by law.