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Washington teacher moves to resolve case years after acquittal

Being convicted -- or simply accused -- of a crime can seriously damage a person's professional reputation. This is particularly for school teachers. One Washington woman found this out under difficult circumstances: She was accused of sexual misconduct with two students who attended the high school she taught at in 2009.

The sex crimes case moved to trial, but a jury eventually acquitted the teacher. Despite being cleared of the charges, the teacher's employer terminated her and the state of Washington attempted to revoke her teaching license. Seeing these moves as unfair and unnecessary, the woman filed claims seeking reversal and recovery of her losses.

Ultimately, the teacher was able to recover losses for being terminated from her job and reduced her license revocation to a one-year suspension. Still, this effort was not easy. In total, the legal efforts took nearly five years from beginning to end.

Most recently, the school board and the teacher reached a settlement. The district agreed to pay the woman's legal expenses. Effectively, this agreement brings the major legal aspects of the case to a close. In the end, the woman will not be returning to the same district to teach, but she will potentially have some career options available.

Sex crime charges are generally quite sensitive, and this particular case is no exception. Thankfully the woman, in this instance, was able to achieve justice. At the same time, her story demonstrates how important it is to address criminal charges and potential ramifications. Her legal challenges began with a criminal trial, but unfortunately didn't end there.

Source: Yakima Herald-Republic, "Long-running Michele Taylor sex case finally ends," Rafael Guerrero, Jan. 28, 2014

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