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August 21, 2011

"Sentencing disparities in child-sex-assault cases point to double standard"

The title of this post is the headline of this intriguing piece appearing today in the Denver Post.   Here are excerpts:

Women in Colorado convicted of sexually assaulting a child in their care are far less likely to go to prison than men sentenced for the same crime.

A Denver Post analysis of sentencing data provided by the Colorado Judicial Branch shows that of the 2,128 men convicted of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust from 2006 through 2010, more than 50 percent were sent to prison.  Of the 79 women convicted of the same felony offense, 38 percent went to prison. A little more than 39 percent of female defendants in that same period — 31 — were put on intensive supervised probation.  Less than 35 percent of men were given the same sentence.

Experts who have studied the issue say those statistics are mirrored nationwide and show a clear disparity between how male and female teachers, coaches and babysitters are treated when they are convicted of sexually abusing a child....

With women, the victim is often a young or teen male in her charge, and too often the abuse is seen as less traumatic and almost a badge of honor for the boy, said forensic psychologist Katherine Ramsland....  Ramsland and others who track sexual-assault cases involving both men and women say prosecutors are starting to understand that women caught preying on teens — both boys and girls — can do just as much damage as men and are pushing for judges to treat offenders of both genders equally....

Several studies show that males molested by female caregivers run a huge risk of becoming sex offenders in adulthood.  Also, 80 percent of male victims of female sexual abuse have been divorced, according to a study done by Stephanie Reidlinger, a law student at Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Va.

Her study says that women who molest boys are most likely victims of abuse themselves. Reidlinger also says that many cases of woman-on-boy crimes are not reported at all, due in part to the media.  "Media outlets rarely use language to convey this type of sexual abuse as a traumatic crime," Reidlinger said. "While reports about male offenders quite often include words like 'predator' or 'monster,' reports of female crimes refer to the perpetrators as 'bombshells' or the conduct as a 'romp.' "...

To be sure, women who abuse children and who are also teachers, coaches and babysitters are a significant minority. In fact, only eight women either had their teaching credentials revoked or denied by the Colorado Department of Education from 2006 to the present because of sexual misconduct.  During that same period, 32 male educators were disciplined for the same reason, according to the department.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers also contend that the sentencing disparity between the genders could result from multiple factors, including prior history and likelihood of recidivism.  A 2005 study shows that females convicted of a sexual offense repeat the same offense only about 1 percent of the time.  The recidivism rate for male sex offenders is 13.4 percent.

That could play a role in determining whether a female offender should be sent to prison and, if she is, how long she should stay, said Larimer County District Attorney Larry Abrahamson.  "You look at the charges, you look at the level of threat that individual is causing the community and if that person is subjecting the victim to pretty significant trauma. You have to look at all of those factors," Abrahamson said.

Sex offenders also are subject to intense psycho-sexual evaluations that weigh whether that person is likely to recommit a sex crime, he said. "Those responses can determine what kind of punishment level you are seeking," Abrahamson said.

August 21, 2011 at 01:10 PM | Permalink

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Should acts that cause no damage be criminalized? What if an act causes great benefit and not any side effect damage? People over 14 are adults. If they choose to sleep with a good looking teacher who teaches them a great deal, and they are all happy and bragging, is that a crime or a blessing?

Fourteen is the real age of adulthood, as might be shown in a Daubert hearing inside a criminal case. The evidence would come from all directions, biology, history, psychology. The fact that the lawyer invented 18 as adulthood makes it presumptively louche, since the lawyer is an internal traitor to our nation and a member of history's most powerful criminal syndicate. Then, the prosecution of "adult" student and teacher sex, if consensual, would violate Lawrence v Texas.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 21, 2011 2:40:32 PM

SC,

As someone who deals with the entire spectrum of sex offender legislation, judicial review, medical, psychiatric, and law enforcement aspects of sex offender issues, I have to say that your statement may sound reasonable on the surface, but ignores the reality that our society faces with regard to correcting such behaviors in the first place.

Sex offender laws against minors have evolved with changing societal mores, coupled with the original reason for such laws. Simply put, there is a huge difference between the physical consequences of sex offenses, notably unwanted pregnancy of underage teens. To that end, sex with minors emulates that of sex with adults: For the most part, men seed women for sex far more than vice versa.

First, let's be clear: SC is talking about post-pubescent sexual activity, commonly called statutory rape cases with involve non-forced, mutually desired sexual activity between two parties, one of whom happens to be underaged, while the other (typically) is over the age of consent. Why the long-winded term? Because the term "consent" only applies to adults; by legal definition, consent cannot be granted by minors. However, there is a difference between sex that is desired by a person from that that is NOT desired, which then uses a more descriptive term "force." However, many people purposely equate "cannot legally give consent" with actual "force", which renders the definition as rhetoric and not sound rational thought.

To that end, I would submit that the vast majority of 16 year old boys would love to have sex with virtually any of the female teachers they study under, at least the "hot" ones. Rock and roll has tons of songs utilizing that theme. But switch the genders, and relatively few 16 year old girls would have sex with the male teachers, at least in the same context that boys would have of the women teachers.

Note I do not have any stats on same-sex illicit encounters, but the thinking process is the same for the most part.

To that end, I believe this is what separates the legal consequences faced by adults of similar actions but different genders. The reality is that (barring physical disease consequences) MOST encounters of boys with female teachers results in a positive outlook (from the boys), while MOST encounter of girls with male teachers result in a NEGATIVE outlook (from the girls). The answer?

Obviously, the punishment must fit the crime. Simply put, adults cannot be having sex with students, and should be criminally prosecuted EQUALLY, because the offenses do not occur in a vacuum, but also affect the entire school paradigm, as well as esteem issues in non-participants. But other statutory acts may, and should, be subject to legislative changes.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Aug 21, 2011 5:09:47 PM

It's hard to tell, but if this is the Reidlinger's article that is referenced in the story, then it really isn't a "study."

http://www.regent.edu/acad/schlaw/blogs/docs/femaleoffender.pdf

Posted by: Steve Erickson | Aug 21, 2011 7:02:04 PM

Eric: Thank you for the thoughtful and very illuminating remark.

The innovative point I am trying to make is that 14 is adult, biologically, historically, mentally. A Daubert hearing on the reliability of scientific testimony would devastate any advocate of 18 as an age of adulthood. Anti-scientific doctrines violate the due process right to a fair hearing and to Equal Protection. It is not really an innovative point. The age of 14 is a return to the last 10,000 years of human history, and therefore totally accepted by most of the people who have ever lived. 18 and that worthless babysitting service, high school, are the real deviations from human history and nature.

I would appreciate your comment on that proposed change, since it is far more important and broader in consequences than teacher student hijinks.

I can argue in favor of prohibiting student teacher sex to preserve trust in the institution of the school. But set that aside for more important question of the real age of adulthood, and therefore legal consent.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 21, 2011 7:47:50 PM

I have asked kids who would not allow anyone to tell them what to do, and already busy criminals, living the full Roman Orgy lifestyle, netting $2 million a year stealing cars on consignment at age 17, for example. Some were heads of drug dealing gangs, with a good track record of effectively running an organized crime enterprise.

I said, "How would you like to make 14 the age of adulthood? Then no one could boss you around, hound you to go to school, and say your parents and teachers can tell you what to do. Nobody could put you in special foster homes or residential facilities. You would be free."

In 100% of cases? "Horrible idea." They do not want to have to go out, get jobs, and support themselves, their girlfriends, and their children.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 21, 2011 7:57:10 PM

To make it easier to find primary statistical sources, this is from corrections.com and it references numerous studies.

Facts and Fiction about Sex Offenders
By Chris Dornin, Retired Statehouse reporter
Published: 05/22/2010

An interesting study, if it exists, would be on escalation. Many laws, like Jessica's Law, are founded on the premise that all registered offenders are soon-to-be John Coueys if not carefully watched. The studies cited go to the recidivism rate, which is much lower than assumed. Within that recidivism rate, what is the rate of escalation of recidivists? Any study on that?

Posted by: Anon | Aug 21, 2011 8:37:21 PM

What is the rate of escalation of recidivists. A needle in a haystack! Since overall recivism is low (for the legal definition of this group), the rate of escalation should also be low. Follow the math!

When almost anyone could be a sex-offender, you are diluting the pool with many non-dangerous people, which is a travesty of justice in itself.

I agree with SC that there needs to be a gradient in penalties going from 14-18 years of age. Many current western democracies currently consider 14 yrs to be a suitable age of consent. Eighteen was established by feminists and public high school indoctrination unions to keep a captive population.

No matter how much politicians, indoctrinators, MSM and LE try to polish a turd, it is still a turd.

Posted by: albeed | Aug 21, 2011 9:25:31 PM

@ Supremacy
14 was the age of adulthood 10,000 years ago because people had much shorter life expectancy.
If 14 is considered adult, they should be able to legally drink, smoke, drive, carry guns, vote and sign contracts. Not a world I want to live in.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 21, 2011 9:31:59 PM

PS to my post of 9:25 PM:

If LE can prosecute someone 14 years old and younger as an adult for an adult crime, then all you have established is the ATTITUDE that laws are only for politicians, prosecutors, LE and judges. Therefore, to most people, the laws are by definition selective justice which is fascist (Note Bill, I didn't use the N_ZI word).

Google the works of James T Flynn!

Posted by: albeed | Aug 21, 2011 9:33:41 PM

Paul:

If the young person was publically indoctrinated, er, educated, I would agree with you.

What is the obvious answer?

Posted by: albeed | Aug 21, 2011 9:36:50 PM

The 14 year olds you know are immature because they are kept that way, operating at a 10 year level of function. If they had more responsibility and experience, they would meet your expectation of adulthood, including the need to help out their families. If you meet a "street" 14 year old of today, you will see someone with great experience, sexually, in violent combat trauma, money making wise.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 22, 2011 1:39:39 AM

At the risk of sounding simplistic and unscientific, I am compelled to point out that anyone raising a teenager would take issue with SC's position that a 14 year old is an adult. Just saying.

Posted by: defense attorney | Aug 22, 2011 9:47:26 AM

@ Eric Knight

Do you have some kind of study that shows teens girls are impregnated by adult male teachers more than they are by their teen male boyfriends?


@ defense attorney

I don't condone sexual encounters between teachers and their students. However, if a 14-year-old is not an adult, why is it that our justice system has no problem treating them like adults? Kind of hypocritical, don't you think?

Its no secret that the U.S. locks up more people than any other country, and that there are only 2 other countries that are even close - one IS a communist country and the other WAS a communist country. So, the fact that our justice system and legislatures feel it has a right to decide when my soon to be 14-year-old is an adult is of no surprise to me.

How do other countries compare?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_Europe

Many countries define a child one who is UNDER the age of 14.

Posted by: Huh? | Aug 22, 2011 2:28:30 PM

"Many countries define a child one who is UNDER the age of 14"

That was also the position of the old common law. Perhaps the US laws are more progressive in their view of child responsibility.

Posted by: Steve Erickson | Aug 22, 2011 2:50:20 PM

@ Steve Erickson

Or is it that we Americans are hypocrites and have a "holier-than-thou" attitude?

Posted by: Huh? | Aug 22, 2011 3:10:14 PM

We do not agree with the direction you are taking this article since there are more women than ever being thrown into prison and put on the sex offender registry - a life sentence! In Arizona women's lives are discarded with reckless abandon where there is an alarming rate of incarcerating women, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, etc.

Take Maricopa County, Arizona's Courtney Bisbee, a school nurse and single mom starting back to work to support her family - A destroyed life with a false allegation by one teenager for an alleged crime that never happened - "inappropriate touch" - 11 years flat time? Courtney Bisbee Arizona & "West Memphis Three's Freedom Means Hope to Innocents in Prison Everywhere" - Phoenix News - Feathered Bastard http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bastard/2011/08/west_memphis_three_freed_means.php

excerpt: "The first that comes to mind is Courtney Bisbee, currently doing 11 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections for a child molestation that did not occur. Though she is not on death row, as was Echols, her case is a shocking example of how dishonest cops, indifferent judges and incompetent attorneys can all conspire to put innocent persons behind bars and keep them there indefinitely.
For more on her case, please see the Free Courtney Bisbee Web site."

Posted by: truthseeker | Aug 22, 2011 7:05:20 PM

Attachment: Free Courtney Bisbee, Perryville Prison, Maricopa County, Arizona

Supporters Fight to Get Courtney Bisbee a New Trial | Change.org News
http://news.change.org/stories/supporters-fight-to-get-courtney-bisbee-a-new-trial#share_source=blog-top_fb

Posted by: truthseeker | Aug 22, 2011 7:08:22 PM

"Or is it that we Americans are hypocrites..."

We are confused about how we think about adolescents and responsibility. On the one hand, many think kids should enjoy the freedoms of adulthood and that many experiences reserved for adults can be experienced by adolescents without any harms. Yet, many also think that adolescents should not be held fully responsible when they engage in adult crimes. We are a culture that is very confused about how we view the ages of 12-18. There is a lot of tension about what we think - and want - for our teenagers. Not all progressive changes bring enlightenment or moral clarity.

Posted by: SteveErickson | Aug 22, 2011 7:38:07 PM

@ SteveErickson

I never said that I thought kids should enjoy the same freedoms as I do. The debate was whether or not a 14-year-old should be considered an adult. I'll go further and ask if I as a parent have the right to make that determination? Who knows my son better than I? You? Furthermore, if my son is a child and unable to consent to a sexual relationship, how is it he could be held responsible as an adult for engaging in "adult crime." Again, hypocrisy.

So, are you saying that Americans are hypocrites or that we have a holier-than-thou attitude?

Posted by: Huh? | Aug 22, 2011 9:42:04 PM

From Huh 2:28 pm

"Do you have some kind of study that shows teens girls are impregnated by adult male teachers more than they are by their teen male boyfriends?"

I don't have any such studies. I would have to imagine that far more non-adult teachers than adult teachers impregnate minors, though a more pertinent statistic might be ANY adult males vs. teen males. One would assume you would hear about the teachers who impregnate minor students and frankly, I haven't heard of such an occurrence lately. I'm guessing that you can count the number of times that happens, at least publicly, on the fingers of both my hands per year.

More likely is teen girls meet older guys either from the Internet or in their circle of friends, usually guys in their early twenties at the oldest. But your question is valid.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Aug 22, 2011 10:29:39 PM

CrimPro question.

Very common to have a computer repair reveal child porn, and get reported. Because browsing the picture section of a drive is not within the scope of the repair assignment, can the reporting be challenged as a warrantless search? And all products of such warrantless browsing get excluded?

The analogy is not to a nosy neighbor reporting a crime seen taking place on the lawn of house, but to a nosy neighbor reporting a crime taking place in the basement, after neighbor broke into the basement of the house without a warrant. I know search warrants are needed by the police, but can a report stemming from come a separate crime committed by a civilian?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 23, 2011 7:09:33 AM

Defense Attorney: The average American 14 year old has been treated like a prince or princess with minimal demands. Maturity comes from experience and is prevented by sheltering. The average street 14 year old is very mature in a criminal lifestyle, with superior social and survival skills to even regular adults. That is why school is a joke to them.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 23, 2011 7:14:38 AM

@ Eric Knight

"I don't have any such studies. I would have to imagine that far more non-adult teachers than adult teachers impregnate minors"

Do you have data to prove that as well, or do you just pull this stuff out of a hat?

Posted by: Huh? | Aug 23, 2011 1:34:59 PM

SC--

The answer would be no, it's not a warrantless search. The Fourth Amendment applies to state actors, or private actors who are in a joint effort with state actors (e.g. the camera guy for COPS traveling along with the officers). So long as the computer repair guy isn't associated with the state, his search doesn't count.

Now, if he browses the picture files, you might have a claim against him under state tort law for invasion of privacy--but that's a separate issue.

Another important matter: since I am trying to help you understand things in good faith, do I get to be on the safe list when all the lawyers are rounded up for summary execution?

Posted by: Res ipsa | Aug 23, 2011 4:38:37 PM

Res: The rule of law is an essential utility product. Turn it off, you get Fallujah, with 100% of time spent on personal security and doing nothing else. The lawyers do not get rounded up. The hierarchy of the lawyer profession, around 15,000 people gets rounded up, get an hour's fair trial, where the sole evidence is their legal utterances, and not any collateral corruption gotcha. Then they get executed for insurrection against the constitution.

If the public is oppressed by this criminal cult enterprise, the lawyer is doubly so, and the regular judge is triply so. The law has to be liberated to get modern, to shrink in numbers, to increase its success rate, to quadruple its salaries but to shrink its transaction costs, by an increase in productivity in achieving its self-stated goals, and to increase the public esteem it deserves by 10 fold. There would be no crime left. Almost all business promises would be kept as they are on Ebay (the model for a new contract law). The family would be supported and restored. Education would shoot up. Around 10% of the GDP would be transferred from paper shuffling to research and development in all areas. All regs and statutes would have to be tested, and proven safe and effective with tolerable unintended consequences. The works.

You would like its outcomes even more than the public. No one here is at risk, with no one being in the hierarchy.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 24, 2011 7:15:07 AM

hmm

"The answer would be no, it's not a warrantless search. The Fourth Amendment applies to state actors, or private actors who are in a joint effort with state actors (e.g. the camera guy for COPS traveling along with the officers). So long as the computer repair guy isn't associated with the state, his search doesn't count"

I think you are wrong. maybe in the beginning when it was voluntarly it would not be state sanctions. but these days they are REQUIRED by the state to notify them. sorry that makes them agents of the state!

Posted by: rodsmith | Aug 24, 2011 2:13:30 PM

@ Huh?

"Do you have data to prove that as well, or do you just pull this stuff out of a hat?"

I didn't pull any figures out of any hat this time around. A valid quantification may be in order, though, and I will try to obtain a more objective figure. However, I can reasonably say that 750,000 teens get pregnant per year in the United States, aged 15-19 (at birth). Cut the figure in half to account for underage conception age, and you have about 375,000 births. I don't imagine there are over 10 births attributed to teachers, at least in cases that involve in charges being filed. But let's make it 100. That would make 374,900 pregnancies that are attributed to non-teachers.

Basically, it comes down to common sense. Kids are far more likely to be impregnated by their classmates than by teachers. I will next try to correlate conception of underaged girls by overaged men, including age differences.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Aug 25, 2011 4:31:02 AM

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