Imagine this: there is a party. There is beer, wine, and vodka. There are adults and children around. One of the adults drinks until they are very drunk. In that purposeful stupor, this person kisses and gropes a 12-year-boy. Later, this same person performs lap dances and straddles teenage boys. After that, this person bites a 13-year-old on his neck and makes him perform a sex on act them.
This would be a clear example multiple acts of sexual assault and rape. One would expect to see a stiff sentence, years in prison followed by a lengthy stay on the sex offender registry. And one would be right to assume that… if the offender were male. If they were female:
[Amanda Wheeler] denied four counts of sexual activity with a child and one of sexual assault but was found guilty following a two-week trial in October at Worcester Crown Court.
Today, Judge Patrick Thomas QC said he did not believe the incident on November 29, 2011, ‘arose out of paedophilia’ but was a ‘one-off’.
Wheeler, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years at Birmingham Crown Court.
“I’m satisfied that this behaviour arose not out of paedophilia, although these were paedophile acts, but out of drunkenness, selfishness and a real element of childishness on your part.
“You were grossly disinhibited, but I don’t think that in you there is a tendency or proclivity towards this sort of behaviour and because of this I can regard it as a one-off.
“The aggravating features are the age of the children, the presence of other children during the offending itself and the fact that you were drunk and out of control.”
People should take note of the judge’s arguments, because he is essentially saying that if a person is drunk, they are less responsible for their actions and that one can conclude that their actions were brought on solely by drink, not by underlying intent. However, the judge was not done excusing the woman’s behavior:
Judge Thomas said statements by the victims showed the assaults had not caused them long term trauma.
He said: “It is because, and only because, of the victim impact statements, and the impact of the sentence to be served upon your children, that I think it is appropriate to step back and suspend the sentence.”
Interesting that the judge’s decision is based on the impact putting this woman in prison would have on her children. Clearly this woman is irresponsible. According to the judge, she “got paralytically drunk” and behaved in a way that “passed beyond the flirtatious”. Why should Wheeler get a pass if that is the way she behaves? Would it not be to her children’s benefit to have someone with that kind of tendency be punished and treated before she harms them (assuming she has not already)?The judge did order Wheeler to ten years on the sex offender registry, but it will be quite redundant since she still has custody and access to her own children, and therefore easy access to others.The article does not explain what the boys stated to make the judge think they were unharmed by Wheeler’s actions. If he went only by victim impact statements and not a psychological report, then he did not base his decision on anything of merit. The boys may have said what they thought would protect them from ridicule, which the judge acknowledged:
It is right to say that they show that the major impact on the children came from all of this coming to light and the embarrassment and difficulties that caused them at the time.
Likewise, Wheeler, despite admitting to have gaps in her memory, denied what happened, and the boys may have just wanted to get the case behind them. Again, the article does not go into those details.
Nevertheless, the sentence smacks of the typical double standard. A woman can prey on several boys in front of other people and literally walk out of court with a smug look of satisfaction when a man in a similar situation would at least serve a few months behind bars.