Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ten Years in Jail for That?

It seems that women are feeling the sting of the strict sexual offender policies. This seems like an awfully long sentence for not actually doing anything. It used to be only men got this kind of treatment -- now women can be treated unfairly, too. Wouldn't it be better if we were fairer to everybody?

Update: So if you are a teacher and have sex in person with a student--you won't get any jail time. Note to women--if you plan to have sex with teenage boys--do so in person and not over the phone. The former gets you off the hook (especially if you are attractive) and the latter could land you in jail for up to ten years.

Thanks to a reader who pointed out yet another case of a female teacher having sex with a 16-year old. I wonder if these are the abusers Oprah had in mind when she advocated for a one strike law for sexual offenders?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yow. I'd think the embarassment of being revealed would be punishment enough.

2:49 PM, November 18, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...


Yes, this woman did not even show up to the prom for this boy--she obviously made a very stupid mistake--but to treat this as a felony seems extreme--perhaps a misdemeanor.

2:58 PM, November 18, 2005  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

I agree. I think that this is the right direction for reform in America. Not that women's prison sentences are too short, but that men's prison sentences are too long. If they let out a thousand people and even one of them commits another serious crime, it will be sensationalized and the next thousand will have to stay in prison ten years longer. If anything, it widens the biggest loophole of all in the system, namely people committing serious crimes without ever going to prison at all. The system becomes fatigued by long sentences and after a while they stop filing charges against the young new criminals.

But if you complain about too severe punishment for people who are plainly guilty of something, you will be branded as one of the stupid, ruinous liberals. Or if you personally can't plausibly be called a liberal, your proposal will still be attributed to liberals.

4:03 PM, November 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THe article simply says her crime is punishable by "up to" ten years in prison. This is useful information for the public so they can eventually judge the judge who assigns the final penalty: was it too much or not enough? She hasn't been convicted yet so she hasn't been sentenced.

7:54 AM, November 19, 2005  
Blogger AmericanWoman said...

When you see murders and violent rapists getting less than this sentence, yes, it does seem extreme.

But as has been pointed out, that is the MAXIMUM sentence. That is why we have judges to decide on the sentence and why mandatory sentences are not always a good idea.

But I wouldn't call what she did 'nothing'. It is wrong for adults to prey on children sexually, no matter the sex of the victim.

8:00 AM, November 19, 2005  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Carol: It's true that this lady may or may not be spared the worst. But I've never heard of an elected judge being thrown out of office for oversentencing people.

Americanwoman: Are mandatory sentences ever a good idea? The slogan for them is "truth in sentencing". The suggest is that the judge is just trying to trick the public if he ever allows parole.

11:53 AM, November 19, 2005  
Blogger BobH said...

To datarat

I'm with you, although probably a couple years probation and a court order to stay away from the boy would probably be in order. If I were the woman's husband, I'd be absolutely humiliated.

I'd love to know how the boy found out who she really was.

4:18 PM, November 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The key words are "charged with" and "maximum sentence". Ten years is inappropriate. But at this point there's no way of knowing if she even get 30 days.

11:21 AM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a 23-year-old male, I can tell you that based purely on appearance it's pretty darn difficult to tell the difference between a girl who's 16 and a girl who's 18. It's a different story once she opens her mouth, though...presuming the 18-year-old is in college.

That said, were I suddenly ejected from my current relationship (she's 21), I wouldn't go after anybody not old enough to go to a bar. I think that's the safest way for guys of my demographic to go.

11:53 AM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And in other news, in Tampa, Greco Middle (!!!) School teacher Debra LaFave (25) pled guilty to multiple sex acts with a 14 (!!!) year old student, and will not serve one day in jail. Try reversing the genders and see how that plays.

I agree that a 20 year old having sex with a 17 year old is (under most circumstances) not something to concern the courts. But here was a TEACHER who had sex with a STUDENT multiple times, and no jail time ensued. As far as I am concerned, it's ONLY because of the genders involved.

Anyone interested in equal rights should be completely outraged. This was not a neighbor, but a teacher... I can spell in loco parentis, can anyone tell me what it means ?.

12:17 PM, November 22, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...

To anoymous,

Wow--if you are a woman and actually have sex with a 14 year old--you get no jail time--but if you talk to them on the phone--you could get up to ten years. This is quite a lesson for women--if you want to have sex with teens--do it in person, not over the phone.

1:08 PM, November 22, 2005  
Blogger Edgehopper said...

In part, this is bad reporting. I fully expect the teacher charged with solicitation to plead guilty and probably get a lesser probation than the one who actually slept with her student. I'm fairly sure statutory rape carries a larger maximum sentence than solicitation of a minor everywhere, but plea bargains are strange things.

3:32 PM, November 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't the parents of the victim ask for this? Probably figuring she suffered enough, and the victim would not be scarred for life. You can call it a double standard, but when a very attractive female teacher has sex with a male student, that just made the student's year. It would have made mine.

3:49 PM, November 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what would have happened if she had been attractive and black? The liberal media has long had a hypocritical obsession with white blond women who are missing or are in trouble. Seems like the judge picked up on this.

3:50 PM, November 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's not a bad looking gal, must be a total nutter. Only a total nutter who looked that good would have trouble meeting men her own age to have sex with.

5:00 PM, November 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Helen. If you liked my reference to LaFave, I've got one more for you. From my own Albany, NY area.

The funniest thing about this to me (as a long-time Albany resident) is that this judge is so far out (on this decision at least) is that he upset the D.A., David Soares. Soares is known far and wide among conservatives in this area as being "soft on criminals" (witness the plea deal -- 6 months for 3 counts of stat rape). How far out do you have to get to outrage a liberal (in the CJ sense -- I have no idea about his politics) prosecutor ?

42 year old having sex multiple times with a 16 year old. Waves hand. "These are not the gender biases we are looking for." "You can go about your business"

5:17 PM, November 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The phone case involves a woman in the small Texas town of Burnet, while the other case involves a teacher in Florida. It would not surprise me if there were different results in these jurisdictions - although the Texas article discusses the maximum penalty and not the actual sentence, if any, that may be assessed.

In addition, note that Texas defendants have a right to a jury trial and, unless the defendant plea bargains or opts for trial to a judge, the defendant (if she is found guilty) will be sentenced by a jury and not a judge.

6:12 PM, November 22, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...

Yes, I understand that the cases are tried in different jurisdictions and courts--I am just pointing out the irony of it.

6:37 PM, November 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to argue or be obtuse. I'm a guest at your blog and I appreciate the opportunity to voice my opinion. And I do understand the irony in situations where it's "worse" to talk sex with a minor than to have sex with one. But comparing these cases is problematic because they are at different stages. In all likelihood, the original charges in the Florida case could have resulted in a sentence of far more length than the defendant actually received.

Of course, it would be ironic if the maximum penalty in Florida for having sex with a minor were substantially less than the maximum penalty in Texas for talking sex with a minor. But that would also suggest Texas takes sexual conduct with a minor much more seriously than does Florida, and I doubt that's the case.

8:19 PM, November 22, 2005  
Blogger Helen said...

Hey anonymous,

Thanks for the clarification and for your views.I guess we will have to see what the outcome of the phone sex case will be and to determine how Texas views it.

8:53 PM, November 22, 2005  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Anonymous - I did a little research and found that male teachers having sex with female students sometimes get probation also. Seemed to be a matter of howmany students the teacher had sex with. Amelia High School in Ohio apparently had a major problem a few years back. Four male teachers involved, two got probation, two got jail time.

10:20 PM, November 22, 2005  
Blogger DRJ said...

Dr. Helen: Thank you for being so gracious in your response. I apologize for posting anonymously, but I had problems logging in and took the easy way out. I'm logging in because I did not intend to be anonymous in this discussion.

dadvocate: Thanks for directing me to the linked article. My impression of these types of cases - and thankfully I have no significant experience in this area - is that some defendants are more successful in convincing judges, juries and prosecutors that the relationship with a minor was a mistake and effectively consensual (even though minors cannot legally consent) rather than a predatory relationship. If the parties are closer in age, it is more likely to result in probation or a lesser penalty than if there is a large disparity in age. In addition, some defendants are simply more appealing than others. I think that is the case with the Florida defendant, Debra Lafave.

11:01 PM, November 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well this has been pointed out repeatedly, even to your original post, but you continue to bring it up.

yes, i agree with you that female sex offenders are treated less seriously than male sex offenders. and that is wrong.

however, there is no irony regarding the two cases you mention. the phone sex lady has only been CHARGED with a crime with a POTENTIAL sentence of up to ten years. the chances that she will receive anything like that are minimal. the florida woman would probably have faced a much longer sentence potentially. and as someone else has pointed out here, it appears that the victim's family in the florida case was agreeable to the plea bargain as they wanted to move on.

9:33 AM, November 23, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic: What I want to know is why some of these men are still certified to teach? And surely there must be some female teachers hiding somewhere out there, too?

12:07 PM, November 23, 2005  
Blogger Edgehopper said...

Update on the bad reporting thing--the NY Post article on the Florida student-teacher sex case notes that the maximum sentence for that was 30 years.

1:43 PM, November 23, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

turningpoint: In general, criminal proceedings are separate from licensing. In most states, licensing is handled by a state education agency and a separate proceedings must be initiated to deny certification. These proceedings take time and may not have occurred yet.

1:44 PM, November 23, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My goodness, when I went to school there was no Sex Ed, is this what would be called additional teacher help, or "teacher's pet"?

Greg Kuperber, she's NO "lady" by a long shot. Generally the Law says, Don't even think about it. Why this nutter let her emotions get out of hand is the real question.

I think she knows very well she is attractive and her ego demands attention. Look how she struts before the poparazie enjoying every minute of it. Maybe she wants to be "discovered" by Hollywood and this little game was her ticket. Teaching must be really boring.

The poor kid is the envy of his classmates stuck with miss pimples under the bleachers.

11:54 PM, November 24, 2005  
Blogger John Murdoch said...

Fact check: Some folks might want to re-read the second article: note that while Debra LaFave doesn't do jail time, she DOES get three years of house arrest, and has to register as a sex offender. She has plead guilty to a felony.

Let's just do a quick rundown of what that means. First--house arrest. It ain't breaking rocks in the Big House--but it has its own little torments. For starters, you have to pay for the house. Anybody have any ideas about how to pay a mortgage while you're on house arrest? Anybody here rent property, and remember that little clause in your rental contract about "outrageous conduct"? If she's renting, the landlord will put her out on her ear. (And guess what happens if you're on "house arrest," but don't have a home. Can we say "sentencing violation"?)

But hey, three years of scrambling to keep a roof over your head without a job (mooching from family, friends, former co-workers, anybody you can possibly find) is no BIG deal, right? Eventually you get over it, and you can get a job and move on with your life. Oh, right--except that you're a convicted felon and a registered sex offender. And you have seven more years of probation. And you have mandatory drug and alcohol testing and monitoring. Which means you have practically zero chance of getting a job, and if you do, its going to be a third-shift gig because all your drug and alcohol counseling (and weekly testing) will happen during professional office hours Monday to Friday.

You know the old cliches, right? A conservative is a liberal whose been mugged; a liberal is a conservative whose been arrested. I'm a card-carrying member of the Christian Right--who has been involved in ministry to perpetrator and/or victim for many years. And I'm convinced that the 21st century analogy to the Roman bloodlust for feeding prisoners to the lions is mimicked by the public demand for ever-longer prison sentences, in the fervent hope that the prisoners will be victimized horribly once inside.

10:39 AM, November 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen i'm a 17 year old student and i find you quiet attractive with time what do you think ?

12:56 PM, December 01, 2005  
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