A veteran teacher at a New Jersey high school was arrested in a restaurant parking lot where police said he was waiting to meet a student for sex arranged over the Internet.
Thomas Weir, 50, of Monticello, N.Y., who had taught at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson for 21 years, arranged the Saturday meeting via instant messaging on Facebook and solicited a male student for sexual acts in exchange for $50, according to a statement issued by Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes
Weir was charged with attempted sexual assault, luring or enticing a child, official misconduct, and attempted endangering the welfare of a child, NJ.com reported. If convicted of all charges against him, he faces up to 40 years in prison.
Weir is currently being held without bail and school officials haven't commented.
The Patterson scandal is one in a string of sexual abuse cases involving educators and their students that have made headlines in recent years.
Though cases involving female teachers and their male students appear to garner the most media attention, the majority of educators charged with preying on their students are male teachers. Between 2001 and 2005, 2,570 educators had their teaching credentials revoked, denied, surrendered or sanctioned following allegations of sexual misconduct, according to a 2007 study by The Associated Press. Just 10 percent of the teachers included in the study were female.
On Friday, the Michigan State Legislature passed a bill that makes it illegal for teachers to engage in sexual relations with students under 21 years of age.
According to The Daily Caller
, the previous law in Michigan – where the age of consent is 16 – prohibited teachers from having sex with students under 18 years of age.
Republican State Sen. Rick Jones, who sponsored the bill, told the AP that the new law is intended to stop predator teachers from waiting until their students come of age to approach them with a sexual proposition.
"When parents send their students to high school, they want to know they are safe from someone abusing them," Jones said.
The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 32-4.
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