Female Offenders

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Bad Bad Teacher!: The Legal Treatment of Female Sex Offenders : 

Bad Bad Teacher!: The Legal Treatment of Female Sex Offenders By: Stephanie Reidlinger Juvenile Law, 2009

Societal stereotypes about women as caregivers and nurturers have resulted in decades of ignorance to female-perpetrated sexual offenses and underreporting by victims; a serious problem that can only be solved by less media sensationalization and more serious consequences for offenders. : 

Societal stereotypes about women as caregivers and nurturers have resulted in decades of ignorance to female-perpetrated sexual offenses and underreporting by victims; a serious problem that can only be solved by less media sensationalization and more serious consequences for offenders. Today’s Presentation: Statistical Analysis of Female Sex Offenders Trends: i. National Trends ii. State Trends Profiles: i. Offender Profile ii. Victim Profile Famous cases How did the problem of underreporting come to be? Why do women sexually abuse? Double Standards Emerging Trends Solutions

National Statistics : 

National Statistics In 1996, 4% of sex crimes were committed by females. In 2000, the United States Department of Justice reported that women commit 6% of sex crimes in the United States.

Select State Profiles: Texas : 

Select State Profiles: Texas The number of women incarcerated for having sex with minors has increased more than 36% in the past five years. In 2001, there were 471 female sex offenders listed on the Texas Department of Corrections Sex Offender Registry. Texas is the first state in the nation to open a state-sponsored treatment facility solely for female sexual offenders. As of 2007, at least 26 of the registered female sex offenders in Texas once held teaching certificates.

Many States Are Reporting Drastic Increases in Female Sex Offenders : 

Many States Are Reporting Drastic Increases in Female Sex Offenders In California, there were 386 female sexual offences recorded per year, covering the period from 2000 to 2004. This is compared to 9,000 sexual offences recorded for males. Approximately one-fifth of all sex crimes cases the Kern County deputy district attorney prosecutes each quarter year (about 20-25) are committed by females. This 4-5 per quarter, or only about 20 per year. In 1998, 471 women were registered as sex offenders in California, less than 1 percent of the state's roughly 70,000 sex offenders . In New Jersey, populations of female sex offenders have skyrocketed from 100 nationwide in 1980 to over 1,200 in 2000. In Georgia, 100 women serving time for raping/molesting girls and boys under 16.

Profile of a Female Offender: : 

Profile of a Female Offender: While male sex offenders are often referred to as “monsters,” female offenders are viewed with intrigue. Majority of women who are reported are between 22-33 years old A high percentage of females who commit sexual abuse have experienced sexual abuse as children or teens and can have victimization histories twice the rate of men who sexually offend. Often have a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse Majority are not mentally ill in terms of suffering form a psychotic disorder Majority are employed in professional jobs or as managers.

Victim Profile : 

Victim Profile High percentage of victims of female offenders are the family or the perpetrator is close to the victim (friend, teacher, coach, sitter, clergy) Victims are both boys and girls with the occurrence of female victims slightly higher. Boys are underreported, however. Offenders over age 30 tend to victimize children under 12 Offenders between 18-25 tend to victimize children between 13-17

Four Categories of Female Offenders: : 

Four Categories of Female Offenders: The teacher/lover offender The male-coerced or male-accompanied offender The pre-disposed offender The offender with poor interpersonal relationships.

Media Sensations : 

Media Sensations Florida teacher Debra Lafave was sentenced in March 2006 for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student. Sarah Bench-Salorio, a 29 year-old Orange County middle school teacher, pleaded guilty in September of 2005 to 29 counts of "lewd conduct" with boys. One of her victims was just 12 years old when they met. Mary Kay Letourneau, a former Seattle schoolteacher, was jailed for having sex with a 12-year-old student In November of 2005, Sacramento high school teaching intern Margaret De Barraicua, the 31-year-old mother of a 2-year-old boy, was sentenced to one year in jail for having sex with a special education student 15 years younger than her. First-grade teacher Rachael Glau, from Crystal Lake, Ill., was sentenced to two years' supervision for having "sexual conduct" with a 16-year-old boy in 1998. In 2002, Michelle Worrall pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old boy and performing an indecent act on a second youth, allowing the boys to camp in the back garden of her home in Rhyl.

Slide 10: 

The roots of the problem: “Rite of Passage” stereotypes “Badge of Honor” Jury Skepticism Denial Underreporting

“Rite of Passage” : 

“Rite of Passage” Sexual relations between young men and older women has been sensationalized as a “rite of passage” and is traditionally unreported. Societal attitudes vary regarding male sexual development. What is considered rape of a female victim is often considered a boy’s rite of passage. Boys are less likely than girls to report sexual abuse because boys are conditioned against raising complaints. “I really don’t see the harm that was done and certainly society doesn’t need to be worried. Maybe it was a way for [the victim] to satisfy his sexual needs.” - New Jersey Superior Court judge adjudicating a female sexual offense case with a 13-year old victim.

“Badge of Honor” : 

“Badge of Honor” “In society, it used to be that with a 13- or 14-year old male, if his first sexual experience involved a 25-year old girl who may well have been taken advantage of him, his male counterparts may say ‘Hey, you lucked out.” Dr. Richrd Gartner, “Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men (Guilford Press, 2001). Older women “teaching” young men about sex is also ubiquitous in literature and movies. Male victims confused and much less likely to report abuse.

Juries : 

Juries Juries are skeptical of accusations from teenage boys against female teachers; less likely to convict. Jury nullification

Denial : 

Denial Often, the first reaction by the public is denial, followed by the assumption the female has a mental illness. Women are regarded as mothers, nurturers Psychologists recognize that it is hard for anyone to think of women as violent or deviant sexual predators.

Impact of Sexual Abuse on Men: : 

Impact of Sexual Abuse on Men: Roughly two-thirds of male rapists report being sexually abused as children by women. Effects of abuse can vary…from difficulty forming healthy relationships to sexual problems. Boys become the subjects of humiliation and being made fun of in a way a female victim might not be.

Why Do Women Sexually Abuse? : 

Why Do Women Sexually Abuse? The few psychologists who have studied the issue believe female pedophiles are most likely to be women who have failed adult relationships, who have suffered a great loss, or who have been victims of abuse themselves. Some believe female pedophiles are struggling to fulfill emotional needs through sexual relationships that are entirely within their control….A woman looks to a child for the affection, intimacy and attention she has failed to secure from an adult male. She’s in control here. The child gives her the attention and love she’s yearning for. The intimacy through sexual relationships and attention translates into love. Often not about sexual arousal. Largest study to date on female offenders: Female sex offenders generally suffered more frequent and more severe childhood trauma themselves than other women prisoners, half of whom other studies have found, were sexually or physically assaulted as children or adults, compared with a third of all women.

Case Law Double Standards : 

Case Law Double Standards Minnesota v. Carlson (2002)- Female offender convicted of first degree rape of a 15-year old child. Received no jail time and sentenced to probation only. (Average sentence for first degree rape in Minnesota: 75.7 months) Prosecutor: “The law treats male and female sex offenders the same, but society for some reason sees that differently.” Victim: “She is an adult. I want her to pay for what she did. If she were a man she would probably go to prison. [She] should go to prison for what she did.” Missouri v. Coffel (2007)- Angela Coffel became the first inmate ever released from the violent offender treatment center after being adjudicated “safe for release.” Court of Appeals: “Coffel was to be freed because there is not enough research intot he risk of female sex offenders striking again. “ Offender was HIV positive, of below-normal IQ, and with a history of substance abuse.

Slide 18: 

Solution: Less media hype and more consequences!

Slide 19: 

In one study, female sex offenders were asked to report their top negative experiences after being forced to place name on a sex offender registry:

Slide 20: 

In descending order: 1. Loss of job 2. Lost a friend who found out about registration 3. Harassed in person 4. Treated rudely in a public placed 5. Denied a place to live 6. Received harassing/threatening mail 7. Assaulted 8. Denial of promotion at work 9. Asked to leave a business

Consequences Women Face: : 

Consequences Women Face:

How Women Feel Being On the Registry: : 

How Women Feel Being On the Registry:

How Does Being on the Registry Affect the Family? : 

How Does Being on the Registry Affect the Family? 82% of family members polled reported the registered offender had a very hard time finding a job because employers don’t want to hire a registered sex offender and this has created financial hardship for the family. 53% report the registered offender lost a job because a boss or co-worker found out through Megan’s Law that he/she was a sex offender and this created financial hardship for my family. 44% of family members reported being threatened or harassed by neighbors after they found out that my family member is a sex offender. 30% report a person who lives with me who is not a registered offender has been threatened, harassed, assaulted, injured, or suffered property damage because someone found out through Megan’s Law that my family member is a sex offender. 22% of the families polled had to move out of a rental property after the landlord found out that a sex offender lived there. Children of registered offenders report harassment by others, ridicule, teasing, physical fighting, feeling left out, depression, anxiety, fear, suicidal tendencies and anger.

Conclusion : 

Conclusion Female offenders treated equally by society. Less media intrigue More adjudications requiring placement on the registry Questions??

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