Court sides with former Kansas teacher in student rape case

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday sided with a former middle school counselor who argues she shouldn’t have been convicted of raping a student who forced himself on her then blackmailed her into a continued sexual relationship.

Writing for a unanimous Kansas Supreme Court, Justice Eric Rosen held that Brooke Dinkel’s claim that she was forcibly raped is relevant to the crime of rape of a child under the age of 14. The Supreme Court ordered a lower court to hold a hearing on whether the trial defense was ineffective for failing to argue that the state didn’t establish that Dinkel was acting voluntarily.

Dinkel, a former counselor at Smoky Valley Middle School in Lindsborg, was sentenced in December 2014 to nearly 14 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervision, for two counts of rape. Before sentencing, Dinkel’s attorney unsuccessfully argued for an acquittal, saying Dinkel was mentally unstable and not capable of forming criminal intent.

Witnesses in the trial testified the boy was 13 when he and Dinkel first had sex in late 2012. Dinkel claimed the boy raped her after he started stripping wallpaper at her house. Dinkel said she continued the encounters because the boy was threatening to get her in trouble. Prosecutors, however, said Dinkel gave the boy gifts and encouraged the relationship.

The boy testified their last sexual contact before Dinkel’s arrest took place in March 2013. He said the sex was “mutually consensual,“ according to court records. But he was too young to legally consent to sex; the age of consent in Kansas is 16.