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May 31, 2009

Two stories on different types of sex offenders

One of many reasons that sex offender law and policy is so messy and controversial is because the term sex offender can mean so many different things in some many different contexts.  These two promientn MSM stories about different types of sex offenders brings this reality into sharp relief:

  • From CBS News here, "Targeting Teens For Sexting"
  • From Time magazine here, "A Florida Epidemic: Female Teachers Sleeping with Their Students"

The Time story is especially interesting because it tries to unpack whether and why Florida might have an unusually large number of these unusual teacher-student sex crimes:

But why should Florida seem to be experiencing an especially high number of such cases?  Are those women, and for that matter the hormonally charged boys they target, somehow egged on by the state's more sexually relaxed atmosphere, with its sultry climate and scantily clad beach culture? (California also has a high rate of teacher sexual misconduct.) Or are Floridians simply reporting more cases like Hernandez's?  It is a crime in Florida, as in most states, not to; but perhaps the tabloid publicity of the Lafave case has prodded Sunshine State denizens to be more vigilant, to no longer be in denial about cases like these or take them so lightly.

And yet paradoxically, says [local state prosecutor Michael] Sinacore, it might also be engendering more cases. As potential female predators see more and more headlines about teachers like themselves bedding boys, it can seem more acceptable behavior in their eyes — especially when they see that offenders like Lafave get relatively light sentences. (That might be changing, however: a Florida judge recently slapped a two-year prison term on a 28-year-old female teacher in Pensacola convicted of unlawful sexual activity with a 15-year-old male student.)

May 31, 2009 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

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