Are Female Teachers Who Sexually Abuse Students Losing Their Gender Privilege?

women-sex-assault

Is the era of deferential treatment that protects women sex offenders from going to jail finally coming to an end? 

(Reuters) – Barbara Goldberg reports: A “Saturday Night Live” skit about a male student having sex with his female high school teacher painted the relationship as every teen boy’s dream, but drew a firestorm of criticism on social media.

“Law enforcement is increasingly feminized, and women are much less prone to the old attitude: ‘Oh, this is just some kid who got lucky’. They recognize the issues involved and they go after women who violate the statutes.”

— David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center

The reaction to the comedy sketch reflected a growing view among law enforcement and victims’ advocacy groups that it is no laughing matter when a woman educator preys on her male students.

[Also see – Busted for Sex with Student and Sending Nude Pics, Connecticut High School Teacher Danielle Watkins Not Looking Happy in Police Photo]

[Also see – Meredith Powell, Boy-Crazy High School Teacher Accused of Rape Resigns, Surrenders Teaching Certificate]

[More – ‘Embarrassed and Mortified’: Oklahoma High School Teacher Confessed to Sex with Student Inside Teacher’s Lounge Multiple Times]

[ More – Joy Morsi Update: Queens Gym Teacher Gets Probation For Sex With Underage Students]

The crackdown is the result of  ‘two seismic shifts’, says Christopher Anderson, executive director of Male Survivor, the largest U.S. advocacy organization for male sex-crime victims.

One is a recognition that it does not matter who the perpetrator is or what the circumstances are. A teacher has absolutely no business engaging in sexual contact with a student…”

In U.S. schools last year, almost 800 school employees were prosecuted for sexual assault, nearly a third of them women. The proportion of women facing charges seems to be higher than in years past, when female teachers often got a pass, said Terry Abbott, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education, who tracked the cases.

[Also see – High School Teacher Julianna Ortiz Mills Charged with Indecent Liberties with a Student]

“…The second is a shift in the culture where boys and their parents are feeling empowered to come forward to say that something has been done.”

— Christopher Anderson

This year’s numbers are already slightly ahead of last year with 26 cases of female school employees accused of inappropriate relationships with male students in January compared to 19 cases the previous January.

Erica+Ann+Ginnetti+resize

Erica Ann Ginnetti, Lower Moreland High School math teacher who had sex with a 17-year-old student

“There are contrary examples, such as Pennsylvania’s Erica Ann Ginnetti, 35, the Lower Moreland High School math teacher who had sex with a 17-year-old student and was sentenced to 30 days in jail by a male judge who said, ‘What young man would not jump on that candy?'”

Female educators who sexually abuse their students are facing tougher prosecution in part because there are more women police officers. There is also a greater awareness among prosecutors, judges and the general public that students who are victimized by an authority figure, regardless of gender, experience trauma with life-long consequences.

Terry Abbott, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education

Terry Abbott, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education

“Social media enables the behavior to start. There is no way that a teacher is going to walk up to a kid in the hallway and say, ‘Hey, would you like to see a naked picture of me?’ They won’t do it. But they will do that on social media. It’s like it erases what used to be that barrier.”

— Terry Abbott, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education

“Law enforcement is increasingly feminized, and women are much less prone to the old attitude: ‘Oh, this is just some kid who got lucky,'” said David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center. “They recognize the issues involved and they go after women who violate the statutes.”

[More – Gifts & Affection: ‘Teacher Of The Year’ Darcy Smith Accused Of Raping 14-Year Old Student]

[OH YES SHE DID: Georgia Mom Rachel Lynn Lenhardt Accused of Hosting ‘Naked Twister Party’ for Teen Daughter, Friends]

[More – Teacher in Fullerton Arrested for Alleged Relationship With 14-Year-Old]

Depression, low-self esteem and difficulty maintaining future relationships are among the long-term consequences that male victims face, according to experts. Those problems are sometimes compounded by confusion and guilt over whether they are actually victims since their adolescent bodies involuntarily respond to physical contact.

‘SEISMIC SHIFTS’

Child abuse experts agree it appears female teachers are being prosecuted more vigorously than in the past.

The crackdown is the result of “two seismic shifts,” said Christopher Anderson, executive director of Male Survivor, the largest U.S. advocacy organization for male sex-crime victims.

“One is a recognition that it does not matter who the perpetrator is or what the circumstances are. A teacher has absolutely no business engaging in sexual contact with a student,” Anderson said. “The second is a shift in the culture where boys and their parents are feeling empowered to come forward to say that something has been done.”

In recent weeks, a Stamford, Connecticut high school English teacher, Danielle Watkins, 32, whose case was prosecuted by a female state’s attorney, was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for having sex with an underage male student….(read more)

Reuters

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Scott Malone and Andrew Hay)



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