As the case of Steven Parkman, the teacher who allegedly had consensual sex with his seventeen year old student, the victim’s parents offer a much different view of their daughter’s relationship than the defense has tried to show.
Parkman, the thirty-four year old orchestra teacher from Harrison High School in Kennesaw who left his job rather than be terminated when the school discovered the nature of his relationship with his student, is not a stranger to this blog. He is one of the main actors in a controversial case which I have talked about before. Originally indicted in 2008, additional charges were added last month; Parkman will most likely face trial this year for five counts of sexual assault against a person in custody and four counts of sodomy as a result of allegedly having a sexual relationship with one of his female students.
Parkman’s attorney, Noah Pines, has argued that the case against his client should be dropped on the grounds that the seventeen year old student was both willing and able to consent under Georgia state law. Current Georgia law does not forbid sex between a teacher and a student, provided that student is over sixteen – the state’s legal age of consent.
Pines said “the evidence is clear that this was a consensual relationship.”
And in response to the new voices coming to the discussion, those of the alleged victim’s family, he added, “I understand that her parents may not want to admit that fact.”
The victim’s parents have used another word to describe their daughter’s relationship with her former teacher: “groomed.”
According to the girl’s parents, Parkman began grooming their daughter for a relationship with him beginning in her freshman year of high school.
“He used her and really kind of forced her into the relationship,” the father said. “It was not consensual at all.”
The girl’s parents described situations where Parkman would arrange to sit next to their daughter on flights they took together as part of out of town orchestra competitions. They say that he would arrange for their hotel rooms to be close together when they stayed over night. More shockingly, they speak of threats and coercion.
The parents claim that after the sexual relationship began, Parkman threatened the girl will poorer grades and college recommendations if she tried to break it off.
“He was telling her if she didn’t come over to the house and be with him, he would make her sorry for it and make sure she wouldn’t get into any college or university,” her father said.
And he later explained, “[Parkman] held her hostage to the point where she couldn’t handle it anymore, until she blew the whistle on the whole thing.”
By which he means that eventually, after a two and a half month sexual relationship with her teacher, the girl did come forward to her parents. Her parents then contacted both the school and the police.
The relationship began in winter of 2008 and lasted until April, when Parkman was arrested.