An Omaha family is frustrated with the legal system and wants change. They say a school janitor had sex with their daughter at school but Omaha detectives determined it wasn’t a crime.
This is a case that will never end up at the courthouse for two reasons: the sex was consensual and the age of the two involved doesn't meet the requirements for statutory rape.
According to the Omaha Police report, a mother intercepted some text messages from her daughter indicating that she had sex with the janitor at Westside High. The janitor is not a school employee but works for a temp service. The 15-year-old girl said she had sex with him twice.
Detectives interviewed her at Project Harmony but the law prevented them from making any arrest. That's because the janitor is 18-years-old and under Nebraska law statutory rape does not come into play because of the state's Romeo and Juliet exception aimed at protecting young people who are engaging in consensual sexual activity.
She's 15 and he was 18 so while 16 is the age of consent in Nebraska people 18-years-old and younger cannot be convicted of statutory rape by having sex with someone 15.
The mother tells WOWT 6 News that the school made it clear to her that the janitor would not be allowed back into Westside High School. She declined to elaborate other than to say she's frustrated by Nebraska laws that, in her mind, victimize the children rather than protect them.
Experts say that once the suspect reaches 19-years of age, everything changes. The janitor just turned 19 but when he was with the girl he was 18.
Investigators also looked at the relationship. It was consensual and he wasn't her boss or teacher. That could have resulted in charges.
Experts say the law is there because there are cases where seniors who are 18 are dating a freshman who may be 15 and they didn’t want that to result in criminal charges.
We checked with the Pottawattamie County Attorney. He tells WOWT 6 News that this case would not be a crime under Iowa law, either.
District 66 officials say the incident was reported to police as soon as they became aware of it. A spokeswoman tells WOWT 6 News that the temp service had conducted a background check on the janitor.
WOWT 6 News left a message at the temp service. Our call was not returned.