It appears very convenient that Zachariah Sherburne, the former education technician at Sacopee Valley High School, managed to quit his job just one day before he committed a “sexual act” with a 16-year-old student, as reported in the June 24 article “Sex assault charges being dismissed against former Sacopee Valley ed tech.”

This story demonstrates the problem with the laws surrounding age of consent (which is 16 in Maine). How can it be possible that felony charges were appropriate if he had been employed on the day he assaulted her, but if he had resigned effective just 24 hours earlier, it was now a “consensual” act?

I hope I’m not the only one appalled by the technicality of the law that allows this man to escape being held responsible for taking advantage of his position of authority.

Mr. Sherburne seems to have had a clear grasp of the law, and followed it to the letter to get what he wanted. If the law considers it impossible for a student to give consent while the other party involved is a teacher, or other school staff member, because of the power imbalance, then how can we possibly believe consent could be given the very next day?

This does not pass the straight-face test, and we all – including Mr. Sherburne and his lawyer – know it.

The Legislature should address this matter in its next session and find a way to better protect our students.

Finally, if this situation has been difficult for the Sherburne family, as his defense lawyer said, how must the victim feel? The dismissal of charges does not change what happened to her, and her voice has not been heard. My prayers and support are with her.

Peter Hasbrouck

South Portland