- Gender and Relationships
FAMOUS STUDENT-TEACHER SCANDALS OF THE 21RST CENTURY
Scandals involving older men and women seducing much younger persons have been around forever, but lately, it seems the news routinely finds stories of female teachers seducing their much younger students.
Some of these situations occur when socially or emotionally immature persons become infatuated with children who are more similar in emotional age than the teacher's peers. Other scandals have involved teachers who were involved in unhappy marriages and drastic cases, involved students who were manipulated into committing unconscionable acts such as murder.
In most states, the age of consent is 17, meaning that children under 17 years of age cannot consent to sexual activity. Certainly not with legal adults. To do puts the adult at risk of being charged with statutory rape. Many student - teacher scandals have involved students who were 17 years or older, but many states have laws prohibiting student teacher relationships. As a result, teachers are not permitted to engage in relationships with students who may be legal adults.
The following are just a few of the more famous student - teacher scandals.
MARY KAY LETOURNEAU
In 1995 Mary Kay Letourneau was a sixth grade teacher at Shorewood Elementary School in Seattle. It was there that she met then 12 year old Vili Fualaau. She took the young student under her wing, initially to mentor him and encourage his artistic talents, but later stated that their work together blossomed into love. They were sexually active by the time Vili turned 13 and by 1997, Letourneau gave birth to a daughter, Audrey. She had been married when she met Fualaau, but her husband left her after she was convicted of rape. Her 7 year sentence was suspended after she served 6 months. She was required to enroll in a 3 year sex-offender treatment program and have no contact with Vili, but by early 1998 she was caught with her former student in a parked car and sent back to jail to serve out her sentence. Their second daughter, Georgia, was born in October 1998. After her release from prison, Mary Kay married Vili in a televised ceremony covered by Entertainment Tonight
Debra Lefave was a 23 year old reading teacher at Angelo Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace, Florida when she became involved with then 14 year old student, admitting to having had oral sex and sexual intercourse on several occasions. She was convicted of lewd and lascivious battery and exhibition. Though she did not spend time in prison, she was placed on house arrest for three years and served another seven on probation. She is also registered as a sex offender. Her defense argued that her actions were, in part, a result of her bipolar disorder and there is no evidence that Debra Lefave ever fully accepted responsibility for her actions.
When Pamela Smart went to prison in 1991 it was not for the affair with her underage student, Billy Floyd. It was for being an accomplice in the first degree murder of her husband, Gregory Smart. She was also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and witness tampering. Pamela Smart had been a teacher at Winnacunnet High School in Derry, New Hampshire when she met Billy Floyd. He was then 15 years old. Floyd was one of a small group of metal music loving misfits that were willing to help their teacher get out of an unhappy marriage by killing her spouse. Prosecutors argued that Smart had control over Floyd as a result of sexual manipulation of the minor. When convicted, she was given life without parole in a prison in upstate New York
Not all female teachers prey on young boys. Shannon Best was a social studies teacher at Sanderson High School in Raleigh, NC when she reportedly had an affair with an 18 year old female student. According to Best, the two had been seeing each other for several weeks. In part because the student was of legal age and allegedly consenting, Best received a suspended sentence of 45 days in jail and 18 months probation. Unlike the previous teachers, she was not required to register as a sex offender.
Mccandless was charged with felony sexual assault of a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for her sexual activity with a 17 year old student while the two were on a school camping trip in 2006. At the time, she was teacher at Brighton Charter High School in Palm City, California. McCandless was also accused of suppling students with alcohol. Both teacher and student denied that sexual intercourse took place, but did not deny doing just about everything short of intercourse. Not even the fact that her husband was the school principal could prevent her from being charged. He must be a pretty forgiving guy because even after McCandless was caught in bed with another parolee in 2009, he stood by her.
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