Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Female Sex Offenders

Going Soft

It's generally the case that when an adult male gets sexually involved with a child, especially a female child, he is immediately charged with a crime, jailed and if convicted, labeled a sex offender. When the stories of females committing the same crime began turning up in the media, there was often less outrage, accompanied by the perception that boys were willing accomplices while girls were genuine victims. (Even some criminologists hold such beliefs.) Television comedians made jokes that they wished they'd had a teacher like Mary Kay Letourneau, because they wouldn't have minded being seduced. Michael Kuehl penned a long article, posted online, in which he states that boys are not victims and the idea that they can be harmed by this behavior is absurd.

Cathy Young calls attention to this double standard in an article for Reason. Responding to the fact that Vili and his mother had lost their civil suit against the school district and local police department in the Mary Kay Letourneau case for not protecting him, Young suggests that there is some hesitation in society for viewing boys like him as true victims.

We can only wonder what the parents of such boys think of these jokes, because some of the boys were actually frightened of the teacher's sexual attention. Yet it will be difficult to get society in general to see the problems with the attitude that boys cannot be victims of sexual assault by females.

In fact, Young noted a case in which the teacher received only probation for a similar offense in New Jersey: that of Pamela Diehl-Moore. At the age of 40, she entered into a sexual liaison with a 13-year-old male student.  But it wasn't just her behavior that seemed questionable. It was also what the judge did.

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