The media and public tend to make it a high-profile story when a teacher
and teen student have a sexual relationship. Statutory rape cases like
that can even make for common joke content for comics or popular subject
matter for TV movies. Lots of people, therefore, tend to form an opinion
on the matter of teacher-student relationships.
Tom Moran for New Jersey's Star-Ledger recently reported on one matter
regarding statutory rape that brings about passionate opinions. Essentially,
he asks whether New Jersey courts treat male and female defendants differently
with regards to the severity of their
sex crimes against children.
He uses two New Jersey sex with a minor cases as examples of how the courts
don't take it as seriously when a female teacher has sex with a teen
boy. Both cases involved plea deals that either completely did away with
jail time or significantly reduced the amount of time to be served for
the female offenders.
If a male defendant had committed the same offenses as the female defendants
in those same cases, suggests Moran, he would have gotten less out of
a plea deal. He probably would have had to serve more time behind bars.
Moran theorizes that this might be true because even judges have a hard
time believing that a teen boy would be as damaged as a teen girl who
has sex with her teacher.
Ethical and consistent sentencing is important in order to foster a fair
criminal justice system that looks at evidence and not gender. Whether
it is a man or woman who is charged with a sex crime, particularly a sex
charge involving a minor, it is of utmost importance that they don't
hesitate to rely on help from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
A plea deal isn't necessarily a good idea for a defendant, even if
it means avoiding a lengthy prison sentence. Sex crime convictions come
with other serious consequences besides jail time. Registering as a sex
offender is a punishment worth avoiding if possible.
Source: Star-Ledger, "Sex crimes and teachers: Is sex bias at work? Moran," Tom Moran, Feb. 24, 2013