Reporter Barbara Goldberg of Reuters penned a new article about the rise of female sexual predators, namely those who are in the education field. The article, which details how male students are in fact victims and not boys entering manhood through sexual relations with their teacher, comes of the heels of Barbara Walters’ 20/20 interview with Mary Kay Letourneau-Faulaau and her husband, Vili Fualaau. Letourneau-Faulaau had an affair with her now-husband when he was her middle school student. Now she is requesting that her name be taken off the sex offenders list since she is married to Fualaau, lives with their two daughters and has not had another affair with a minor.
Recently, there have been more headlines about female teachers who have had affairs with their male students. Goldberg notes in her article: “In U.S. schools last year, almost 800 school employees were prosecuted for sexual assault, nearly a third of them women. The proportion of women facing charges seems to be higher than in years past, when female teachers often got a pass, said Terry Abbott, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education, who tracked the cases.”
Although many male students who become sexual assault victims internalize the crime as something to gloat about, Slate says society should know female sexual predators work just like their male counterparts. They flatter their younger victims by allowing them to “feel more grown-up than they are.”
The public will see more female predators go to prison because of the increase in high-ranking women in the law enforcement field. David Finkelhor, the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, told Goldberg, “Law enforcement is increasingly feminized, and women are much less prone to the old attitude: ‘Oh, this is just some kid who got lucky.’ They recognize the issues involved and they go after women who violate the statutes.”
Abbott also says social media enables sexual behavior because the professional barrier becomes erased. Particularly if a female educator is close in age to her male students, the students then try to justify their relationship with their teacher.
In the research conducted by Abbott, male law enforcement officials may give female predators a reduced sentence because of the belief that women cannot be as harmful as their actions indicate. Women in law enforcement try to ensure female predators are sentenced appropriately because they’re more likely to refer to the letter of the law. For female law enforcement officers, female predators and their behavior will not be excused.