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Cortoni hasn’t studied female teachers specifically, she says: “I haven’t been able to get data.” Canada’s national sex-offender registry doesn’t provide gender breakdown for “privacy reasons.” A recent freedom of information search in Wales, however, showed female sex offenders in that part of Britain were the fastest growing category, more than doubling from 78 in 2009 to 193 in 2012 (the number of male sex offenders rose 67.5 per cent from 3,655 to 6,122).We’re just beginning to understand sexual abuse by female teachers and its consequences, says Shoop, who calls it “abhorrent behaviour that’s epidemic.” People don’t appreciate how frequently it occurs, he says: “The conversation is probably where the abuse of children by priests was 10 years ago.” The sensationalized template for the female-teacher-and-male-student relationship remains mired in the decades-old spectacle of California teacher Mary Kay Le Tourneau, a married 34-year-old mother of four who was jailed in 1997 for second-degree rape of her 12-year-old student, Vili Fualaau.

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Ralph’s feelings for the boy grew out of a desire to help others, the court heard; she equated her feelings with “young love,” and she connected with the boy better than she did with her husband of more than 20 years.

I was far too naive at the time to recognize her lies and manipulation.” The judge agreed: “The court is convinced that the accused used the victim to satisfy her own sexual needs, thus exploiting the victim’s naïveté, his lack of maturity, his dependence and his trust.” Canadian law is clear that a minimum jail sentence must occur in sexual charges involving children, meaning those under age 16, the age of consent; when an adult is in a position of authority or trust, however, that age rises to 18. Sentencing in the Pont­briand case, as well as the two-year prison term given former Calgary school teacher Jennifer Mason in July for sexually exploiting a 16-year-old, recognize the severity of the crime. In April, Kim Gervais, a 37-year-old former elementary school teacher in Timmins, Ont., was given seven months in jail and two years of probation for “abhorrent” breach of trust after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual interference and one count of inviting for a sexual purpose involving four male students who were 12 and 13 at the time. In March, 59-year-old Deborah Marion Ralph, a former Langley, B.

Yet a cultural double standard persists in attitudes toward and legal treatment of male and female teachers who sexually exploit students. C., elementary school teacher, avoided jail after pleading guilty to sexual interference with a student who was 11 when a three-year relationship began in 1998; Ralph was 44.

Le Tourneau was reincarcerated after breaking probation; police found her having sex with Fualaau in her car.

The couple, who would have two children and marry, turned their “illicit love” into an industry with a tabloid-ready happy ending: , and hosted “Hot for Teacher Night” at a Seattle club.

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