A 33-year-old Lebanon Ohio high school gym teacher was convicted last week of a sex crime felony -- 16 counts of sexual battery -- and sentenced to serve four years in prison for engaging in sex parties at her home with five of her 17-year-old male students. She faced the possibility of a much longer prison term for her “crime,” and might have been put away for decades.
The age of consent for sex in Ohio is 16, but it's illegal for a teacher to have sex with a student.
The judge refused to buy her insanity defense in which she claimed “medical and psychological issues” resulting in her having no memory of the incidents. Those young men took advantage of her, her lawyers argued. The convict cried pitifully as she was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.
The five male “victims,” some of them players on the school’s varsity football team, testified that she had been drinking alcohol and was a willing participant who initiated much of the contact during the encounters. A few other students testified on her behalf, hugging her in the courtroom and telling the judge that she was a good teacher, a supportive advocate, who kept appropriate boundaries.
But some observers believe that she got off far too lightly. Parents of two of the “victims” made tearful statements in court. A father complained about his son's “depression and lost motivation,” saying that “he almost didn’t go to college.” He implored the judge to impose a harsh sentence to “send a message that the teacher’s acts are not acceptable and there are serious consequences.”
Another parent said her son trusted his teacher during an extremely low period when his father had cancer and related health problems. "These young men may appear as if they are tough guys, but in reality, they are truly hurting," said mom. "She took advantage of their vulnerability. She crossed the line and it is unacceptable."
Well, of course what happened here is wrong, unacceptable, and crossing the line – that goes without saying. Teachers shouldn’t have sex with their students; it’s against the law; it’s unethical; it’s disgusting. But 16 counts of felony sexual battery?
If there were an insanity in this case, that is it. Maybe it’s against the law, and maybe it should be; maybe she shouldn’t be a teacher; but only by the delusional psychosis of the legislature does this constitute a serious felony crime. If a teacher weren’t involved, it wouldn’t even be against the law. The legal system has overreacted here to the point of absurdity.
This sort of thing occurs only occasionally in America (about once in a blue moon); teachers and students gone wild. When it does happen the headlines are always global. The prudes and the pundits go apoplectic. There’s a big to-do about nothing. Muggers and armed robbers often get less time in prison than this hapless teacher.
What we have in this case is six normal adult human beings, albeit, five of them young adults; one horny woman afflicted with acute alcohol induced nymphomania, and five strapping young men all suffering from raging male testosterone syndrome, giving in to their wholly natural desires for sex.
Does anyone really believe that these guys – these big rugged football team game bangers – were sexually assaulted and battered here? Does anyone really believe that these young men didn’t heartily consent to the activity; didn’t initiate most of it themselves; didn’t thoroughly enjoy every second of it?
If anyone were vulnerable here it was the teacher. Does anyone really believe that she’s a sexual predator? Who is the victim here; the boys or their teacher? Why aren’t these young men guilty of a crime?
If any of these boys were psychologically damaged because of what happened, it surely did not arise out of the sex parties, but more precisely from the reaction to the titillating events by society. Had the parties not been discovered and laid bare, these lucky boys would carry fond memories of them throughout their lives.
I seriously doubt that the kinky sex, for example, caused any depression, emotional trauma or loss of motivation in these lads. Far from it; they loved it; it’s the publicity over it, the court trial, the glaring limelight, the social embarrassment, and the intense media feeding frenzy that causes psychological pain.
So, once again, we have a good productive member of society, a teacher who made a stupid mistake which has, as a practical matter, hurt no one, but a mistake for which she will have to pay dearly for the rest of her life. Years of her life will be wasted in prison. No doubt she will never teach again. She’ll surely have to register as a sex offender and suffer all the indignities and iniquity that entails. She’ll be branded as a felon and a convict to the end of her days.
Prison is not a proper remedy for cases like this one. Prison will serve no valid societal purpose here. This woman is not a danger to the community. There are no victims except perhaps to the integrity of the teaching profession. She should have been fired and her license suspended or revoked.
This case is just one more ridiculous example of sex crime psychosis in America.