Woman claims Islamic upbringing led her to abuse boys

A New Jersey woman blamed her religion for her repeated sexual abuse of several boys:

A high-school teacher who was jailed for performing sex acts on her underage pupils has blamed her strict religious upbringing for her crimes.

Linda Hardan, from Prospect Park in New Jersey, was jailed to three years in prison yesterday after sending scores of sexually explicit text messages to pupils, aged 14 to 16 years-old in 2014, and then engaging in sex acts with them.

Her defense lawyer, Alissa Hascup, said the Muslim woman was driven in part to commit the offences due to her strict religious upbringing, and suggested that she be treated by a therapist as oppose to serving time in prison.

I do not claim to be an expert on Islam, however, based on what I know of the religion it does not condone, encourage, or teach that adult women should have sex with boys. It actually teaches the opposite: that women should have not sexual contact with any male until marriage. As such, I am curious how Hardan explained this contradiction.

The judge appeared to make the argument for her: Continue reading

Student gets $6 million abuse settlement from school following abuse

In rare instance of accountability, a former student abused by one of his teachers will receive a $6 million settlement from the school district:

Vince Finaldi, an attorney for the former high school student, said the egregious conduct of Redlands Unified School administrators in the case warranted what may be one of the largest single-victim sex abuse settlements by a public agency.

“The size of this settlement represents the gravity of the damage done to this young victim and his family and it also highlights the extreme malfeasance and neglect by school officials who turned a blind eye to the criminal conduct of a teacher and failed to protect a student,” Finaldi said.

Laura Whitehurst faced 41 felony counts of unlawful sex acts. She faced a potential 29-year prison sentence. She chose to plead guilty to six counts of lesser offences, resulting in a one-year jail sentence. She was released after six months and placed on probation. She was also required to register a sex offender, but otherwise faced no other penalty. She also shares custody of the child that resulted from her abuse of the student.

The former student’s attorneys argued that the school officials were culpable because they knew of the abuse but nothing to stop it. School district officials agreed to a settlement, although it appears for purely public relation reasons: Continue reading

Former tutor claims student abused her

Abigail Simon faces four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against her former student. She is accused on engaging in repeated sexual acts with the 15-year-old boy. However, Simon claims that she is the actual victim:

In testimony punctuated with weeping, Simon said the teen within a matter of weeks in the spring of 2013 used physical intimidation, psychological manipulation and rape to control every aspect of her life – even to the point that she did what he wanted when she was on the other side of the country.

“My thoughts, my life, were consumed with making (the teen) happy,” she said. “It was bizarre.”

It gets more bizarre:

Simon was questioned all day by her attorney, describing events from the beginning of their relationship that started with him slapping her after accusing her of spending too much time with other students she was tutoring.

She wept as she explained how the boy managed to get her to take him to restaurants, drive him to Chicago and South Bend and let him into her apartment all using threats against her and himself.

Two things come to mind. One, this is the case that should have prompted Joanna Schroeder’s ire about double standards against male victims. What man could take the stand and claim that his 15-year-old female victim controlled his life and expect anyone to take such a claim serious? Continue reading

Former teacher of the year gets 38-year sentence

In a rather surprising decision, a Florida judge sentenced Ethel Anderson to 38 years in prison for sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy:

Calling her “a parent’s worst nightmare,” a judge sentenced former Hillsborough County schoolteacher Ethel Anderson to 38 years in prison Monday for performing oral sex and other lewd acts on a 12-year-old boy she tutored on weekends.

Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe’s severe punishment of Anderson seemed designed to send a message in a county that has attracted disproportionate attention for sex scandals involving female educators. The most notorious of them, Debra Lafave, managed to avoid incarceration completely after pleading guilty to sex with a 14-year-old boy.

“There are those that believe that nothing’s wrong if the defendant is a woman and the victim is a male,” Tharpe said Monday. “This court does not recognize gender. If it’s proven, as an adult, that you had sex with a child, you can expect to go to prison.”

Finally there is a judge who gets it. Continue reading

Now it’s wrong

I meant to write about the infamous Montana case, but did not get a chance. For those who missed it:

A former Montana high school teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old female student who later committed suicide will face only 30 days of jail time.

Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, had at least three sexual encounters with student Cherice Morales in 2008. In 2010, the student committed suicide a few weeks before her 17th birthday, The Billings Gazette reported.

Yellowstone County Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Rambold to 15 years prison, with all but only 31 days suspended for sexual intercourse without consent. The judge then gave Rambold credit for one day served, bringing the offender’s total jail time to just 30 days.

Auliea Hanlon, mother to the victim, testified that her daughter’s relationship with Rambold was a large factor in the teen’s suicide. As the sentence was delivered, Hanlon began to scream “You people suck!” before leaving the courtroom.

That is a total embarrassment, particularly given the victim’s suicide. Sentences are supposed to reflect the nature of the crime, and one would think the girl killing herself would demonstrate the affect the abuse had on her.

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The teacher abuse double standard

Originally posted on May 23, 2013

Teachers sexually abusing students has unfortunately become a normal news item in the last twenty years. Female teachers abusing male students garners the most media attention. That coverage may lead some to believe that women who abuse students face harsher sentences when convicted. However, it appears the opposite is true. According to a Star-Ledger investigation of 97 cases in New Jersey, male teachers are more often convicted and face longer sentences:

The data about 72 men and 25 women also shows:

  • Male defendants went to prison in 54 percent of cases compared with 44 percent of cases for female defendants;
  • Men averaged 2.4 years in prison compared with 1.6 years in prison for women, or 50 percent more time;
  • Ninety-three of the 97 cases ended in plea deals;
  • €…Forty-seven cases ended in noncustodial sentences, which typically involved pre-trial intervention programs or probation.

This comes as no surprise to anyone following the media coverage of these cases. As the paper noted: Continue reading

Too racist to molest a child

Over the years, we have heard sex offenders use a number of excuses to rationalize their actions. We have also heard them use a number of excuses to explain why they should not go to prison. But never have we heard this:

A first-grade teacher at an Humble prep school cited her racial prejudice against black students in denying allegations that she fondled a girl in her classroom last month, according to court records.

Esther Irene Stokes, 61, of Montgomery, was charged with indecency with a child April 10, court records show.

The 7-year-old student told police that Stokes, her teacher at Northwest Preparatory Academy Charter School, sent all the students out of the classroom and touched her on her “private part” on the outside of her clothes on March 1, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.

Humble police met with Stokes after she failed a polygraph examination. Stokes denied touching the girl “on any part of her body,” prosecutors said.

“The defendant stated that she doesn’t like black students because she was prejudiced,” the complaint states. She told police that “she does not like the complainant” and has “very little to no interaction” with her.

Continue reading