Gender

Degrees of Child Abuse?

More and more often it seems we are reading news about adult females “having sex” with teenage boys. It is good to finally see some press on this common form of abuse and also the fact it is being reported, but we do have a long way to go. There is a very disturbing aspect of these stories that always ends up in the comments and public discussion and it goes like this: “He’s a boy and he scored with a woman and now you want to call it rape? He got lucky, what’s the big deal?”

Well duh, that’s because legally and morally it is rape. In case anyone missed it, a child cannot “have sex” with an adult in this country, it is defined as child sex abuse among other things. The age of the offender or their gender does not matter, it is a crime.

Read more here.

Randy Ellison

 

This article was first published on 1 in 6 and Joyful Heart Foundation websites. Both of these organizations do amazing work to help survivors heal and teach a new normalcy and acceptance for the millions of people who were victimized sexually as children or adults.

It is with the aid of people like Steve LePore, David Lisak, and Peter Pollard of 1in6 and Mariska Hargitay of Joyful Heart Foundation that more people are hearing the message. Please keep sharing these articles and resources so that one day no one will have to suffer from gender violence.

 

Categories: Blog Posts, Gender, The Movement | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“Whiny’ teen couldn’t have been raped by teacher because he’s a boy” Really?

 Last week Fox’s TV show Outnumbered had TV personality Tucker Carlson as a guest talking about the female teacher charged with rape of a male student. Joy Morsi, a Queens high school gym teacher, is accused of having sex with a 16 year-old student over 30 times. Now another student has come forward claiming to have been sexually abused by Ms. Morsi as well. Addressing the issue Carlson stated, “It’s ludicrous that we are calling this a rape. Are you serious? I’m not joking a tiny bit. I’ll tell you what’s wrong to this extent:  he went and tattled to the police and destroyed her life. Are you joking? What a whiny country this is.”

Where do I start?? Being sexually abused or raped is not in any healthy way, shape or form a badge of courage for a boy. Having a media personality say on TV that reporting one of the most under reported crimes is being “whiny” will keep some boys from reporting and it reduces the believability of those who do report. He seems to suggest that for boys, all sex is good sex. Even though there are an estimated 19 million male survivors of child sex abuse in America, Mr. Carlson’s culture seems to want us to believe that being victimized is inconsistent with being a man. So according to him we either keep quiet and suffer, or we are whiny and exhibiting behavior unbecoming of a man. I chose the keep quiet path, and it didn’t work out very well for me, or for anybody I know.

How can we expect our sons to grow up healthy and have respectful boundaries with people, if we teach them this Neanderthal macho caveman crap? Stuffing your feelings is nearly always destructive, because our capacity to hold those feelings is far less than how often we experience them. The result is often an emotional train wreck.

Mr. Carlson says that the boy “pursued” the teacher. Well what child or teenager does not want the attention of an adult in power? I wanted the attention of my minister. I held him on a pedestal, but believe me, I never imagined that would include anything sexual. What if the “older female” was his step-mother? Is that still okay in Mr. Carlson’s code? Where would he draw the line? What if it was the boys’ mother or sister, because these are very realistic scenarios that happen every day. How about if it was a female pastor? Would that be a badge of honor as well, which is how Mr. Carlson describes being raped by a female teacher.

Is he suggesting if it feels good or you have an orgasm, then it’s all good? I’ve got news for you Mr. Carlson, just because a rape victim’s body responds to the sexual stimulus, does not make it okay to rape! On the Oprah Show, Tyler Perry called it being “betrayed by your body.” I think the proper term is biochemical, which is to say that our body is responding involuntarily.

“Sex” between an adult, in this case a 39 year old, and a minor, 16 in this case, is NOT an “intimate relationship.” It is morally and legally rape regardless of the sex of either. Most of the time my relationship with my pastor was that of mentor-student, but when we were in his office and he locked the door, it was offender-victim. He was powerful all over the state of Oregon and that building was the seat of his power. I was a 16 year-old boy and no match for a master manipulator. The power differential alone made a “consensual” relationship impossible even if it were legal, which is why it is not!

Mr. Carlson’s frame of mind is the same that, in some men, makes it okay to hit a woman. Sexual abuse of minors and rape are close cousins of domestic abuse. They all rely on abuse of power, secrecy and societies propensity to rationalize and turn a blind eye to that which they do not want to see.

I don’t hold out any hope for understanding from Mr. Carlson,* who is a child of extreme wealth and power from the one percent, but can the rest of us please move the conversation forward out of the dark ages? Male child sex abuse is real and so is the rape of men. Sometimes the offenders are women, but that does not mean it is okay. EVER! Being a man is not about “scoring,” or hiding your feelings Mr. Carlson, it is about being a good and kind human being that is capable of feeling joys and sorrows and sharing those with people who care about you.

If you ever had an unwanted or abusive sexual experience as a child, please ignore the message of Tucker Carlson and people like him. No matter what the circumstances were, seek help, tell a loved one, find a therapist, and if it is right for you, report what happened to the authorities. You are worth it.

Randy Ellison

Original story and link to video of interview: Outnumbered, Tucker Carlson

*Tucker Carlson

 

Categories: Blog Posts, Gender | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

We Are One

Probably the most rewarding aspect of being an advocate is hearing from other survivors who are starting their healing journey. I hurt for the difficult times I know they will have, but I also know the joy they will experience as they learn to like themselves and open their lives to other people. In the last week three male survivors have reached out to me. One was going to meet with his congressional representative to ask for a federal law on child sex abuse with no statute of limitations. The state laws just aren’t cutting it, according to him. He was angry and I understand that. The next two wrote about my book Boys Don’t Tell: Ending the Silence of Abuse. One man had just bought the book and had this to say:

I have pushed this trauma away for so long, through addiction, self hatred, low self esteem, medicated for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, ADD, Panic and Anxiety disorders and so forth……I can’t have a healthy relationship and my trust issues are enormous and the list goes on. I am looking forward to finding hope and recovery that I so desperately need.”

The next letter came with greetings from the Philippines. It was from a man who said he lives in poverty and does not have the means to buy the book, but feels he needs it and will put it to good use if I will send him a copy.

“I have been looking for reading material on male sexual abuse. It is difficult to find here in the Philippines. I am religious seminarian training for Catholic priesthood.
I am interested in your area of expertise and wonderful advocacy in life not just because I am working toward a professional practice in psychology but more on a personal level. I am trying to understand myself more…I am beginning to find some connection.”

I always look for the circles and how they come together, and these three certainly overlap with pain, shame, anger, lack of understanding of self, and more pain, unbearable pain. These men’s lives do not just intersect because of what they endured as children; they are in a similar place because they are all reaching out for support as they start their healing. Every survivor I have met who is in recovery will go to extremes to help another on their journey. It’s kind of like we are all Alcoholics Anonymous sponsors; if you are hurting we are there for you, day or night.

One of the significant issues with male survivors is that we generally believe we are alone, the only one. In fact, most of us are alone because of the walls of protection we build around ourselves. I have used the phrase “I felt like I was tied in that chair, while he touched my skin.” I think a lot of us felt as though we were tied with ropes because we had no control over what was done to us.

What I find interesting is that some of us, myself included, have lived for years or decades as though those ropes were still there. It is only when the pain becomes too great, or we are triggered in some way that we first reach out to another human being to share our burden. It is at this point that the ropes begin to unwind and we can breathe for what to many of us, feels like the first deep breath we have taken since before the abuse started. And as the oxygen travels our bodies, the tears begin to well up as we release the hurt.

At church last Sunday they sang a beautiful song by Pat Humphries, “We Are One” about Korea and their country divided by war. It made me think of all the men who have survived being sexually abused as children, only to live a life alone behind our walls at war with ourselves and the world. So as you take that first breath of air, remember there are 19 million men in this country who, in some form, have had similar experiences. You are not alone, and those who will help and support your healing journey are many. We are here to bear witness to your pain and celebrate your recovery.

So I want you all to know that I truly believe that we are one. Brothers. Together we can and will overcome. And yes, a book is on its way to the Philippines.

This article was originally published on https://1in6.org/ and Joyful Heart Foundation

Randy Ellison

Categories: Blog Posts, Gender | 4 Comments

Time for Men to Speak Up and Speak Out

Part 2 of Men Are Pigs

I live in a small area in southern Oregon with an overall county population of only 200,000. In the last year 10 women and children have been murdered by their significant other in cases of domestic violence. One insider has commented that it seems to be open season on women. I attended a vigil a month ago to mourn the loss of two women victims murdered by their present or past male partners.

When I put this all together I see girls from a young age being looked at and thought of sexually by society. They are subjected to crude sexual comments and innuendo absolutely any place they go. They are commonly coerced into sexual acts by boys and men, or just plain raped and left to deal with the shame and guilt, and then live with the secret in silence. Many women live with fear of violence and physical abuse in the one place everyone should be able to feel safe, their own homes.

I will never understand what it means to be a woman. But I do have some idea what it means to be victimized. I can use that to help motivate me to do what I can to speak out at every opportunity when I see injustice aimed at a girl or woman. Just as it is my mission to see conversations on child sex abuse happening to increase understanding, we need to discuss what it means to see each other as equals worthy of respect. We can never call ourselves civilized as long as we are allowing the rape and murder of the soul and body of our women and children.

We have traditionally called these women’s problems, yet men are the perpetrators of these crimes in over ninety percent of cases. It is past time to broaden that view to include men and have them be part of the solution. A feminist recently wrote that it is time we stop teaching women how to not get raped and start teaching men it’s not okay to rape.

What this tells me is that men who do see women as equals have a lot of work to do. We cannot afford to be passive about it. As Jackson Katz says, saying you’ve never raped a woman isn’t much of a statement. What have you done? What have I done? If I am aware, it is imperative I speak out. I must teach my grandsons how to behave around girls and women, around anyone, thank you very much. If I consider myself a writer I need to write about these issues and see that it gets to places other men will read it. We need to teach kids what a healthy relationship looks like and make sure they know that nothing less than mutual respect is acceptable in any relationship including strangers walking down the street.

My daughter and many other women think of men as pigs because of incredibly negative personal interactions. I would like to think that as a group, men are capable of moving a little farther from the cave than what current events show us based on the actions of a minority. It is going to take some bold actions on the part of men as a whole; business leaders, preachers, teachers, and yes, even politicians. We must speak out at the injustice and inequities in relationships between men and women and children. The power differential and violence cannot be deemed acceptable. We can no longer afford to offer a wink and a nod at insensitive behavior towards women. When we see inappropriate behavior we need to speak the words, “Hey that’s not cool, don’t do that.” We need to boldly go where few have gone before. Don’t be a bystander. Don’t turn away.

I for one am going to make a difference, not just for the women in my life and the abuse they have suffered, but because it is the right thing to do. I will teach the young men around me to treat everyone with respect. I know that most men are not pigs and just need to be taught that speaking up is the right thing to do. We need to not be bystanders to violent or inappropriate behavior in public. I will speak up when I hear other men being disrespectful to women or children. I will offer my services in speaking and teaching other men and boys to learn that it is enough to be a good and kind person. I want to make sure that young men realize how beautiful, rewarding and yes, even fun, a mutually respectful relationship can be.

Please join me in working for a world where women and children can live without intimidation and fear, a world where no one is afraid to make eye contact or to walk into their own homes.

Click Here for Part 1.

Randy Ellison

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Men Are Pigs……Can the non-swine of us change that?

 

I was the youngest of three children and the only boy. My father traveled in his business, so most of my young memories are of being around my sisters, my mother and my maternal grandmother who lived with us. As a result my young frame of reference was from a female perspective. Add to that, my mother was a traditional Norwegian Lutheran. She taught me to always be polite, especially to girls and women. I was trained to hold doors open for women and to always treat them with the utmost respect.

Once I got married at the age of twenty I was well programmed in the etiquette of how a man is supposed to act around a woman. Most of that training is still with me today even after living through the sexual revolution of the 60’s and women’s independence of the 70’s. We ended up having two daughters when we were still almost babies ourselves. Raising girls seemed very natural to me after growing up in a mostly female household.

Being basically conservative like my mother, when our girls began reaching puberty I made sure they wore clothes that did not accentuate their bodies. My personal favorites were baggy sweatshirts. Often they were sent back to their rooms to change into something “Dad” was more comfortable with before going out. I discovered much later in life that I had a wheel barrel full of issues other than just being trained and raised by Edythe, but that is a whole different story.

We bought a ski boat when the girls were in their early teens. We all had fun boating in mountain lakes on vacations. During the week we had the privilege of using it on the Willamette River in Portland. When we were boating and water skiing I never gave much thought to the fact that we all wore bathing suits. It’s what you wear in a boat, right?

I remember when my youngest daughter started complaining while boating about men in other boats. I would hear her say things like “men are such pigs.” She was probably 13 or so at the time and I thought, oh honey they’re harmless, they’re just looking. They can’t tell from a distance how young you are. I hope you can tell here what a liberated man I was and how deeply I understood what it was like to be a female in our culture. NOT!!!

I had reached a point in life that I no longer shared “dirty” jokes with other men. In fact I frequently commented on their inappropriateness or walk out on them. Over time men stopped talking “inappropriately” around me or made a joke of it. “Oh, Randy’s here, I’ll tell you that one later.”

I supported the women in my life and continued to treat them the way I was taught. I was a strong supporter of women’s rights as well. I believed their bodies were indeed their own to choose what they did and did not do with them. I knew some men were actually “pigs” as my daughter had observed, but most were “just guys” like me. We saw women as people and were able to appreciate inner and outer female beauty without being obtuse about it.

As I have gotten older and gotten more in touch with my own feelings and powers of observation I began to notice what to me was an alarming trend. I was surprised by the number of women and girls that would not make eye contact as I walked around town or in a store. Even if I smiled and said hello, nothing, eyes down. I began to wonder if they were men haters or there was something about me that offended them. That was as far as I could get to understanding at that point in my life.

A few years ago I addressed the sexual abuse I experienced as a teenager at the hand of my minister. It opened up a huge panacea of issues for me and I spent extensive time in therapy examining my own sexuality and sexuality in general. I have since become a victim advocate, speaker and writer on the subject of child sexual abuse. It has brought me in contact with women dealing with the issues of rape and domestic violence. I am learning the similarity of child sex abuse and adult sexual violence; two sides of the same coin, both based on control, power differential, and violence.

Power = Corruption

Men have Power

Men assume Power

Men abuse Power

Arrogant men abuse assumed Power

Men assume entitlement to Power

Men use assumed Power,

With no regard to those it impacts

Some men use Power to abuse

They think it demonstrates their Superiority

I ended up having the story of my recovery published in a book, which contains the poem above. I purposely wrote my story very raw to share the gut feeling of what it was like to live with the distortions of abuse and never telling. A few months after the book came out I got an email from one of my daughters titled ,“Stuff I Cannot Say”. She told me she was having trouble reading some parts of my book and some of the blogs I was writing. Huh? I did not understand what she was talking about. She shared two stories about her life that literally brought me to my knees and still does when I think about it.

She shared visiting a high school girlfriend for a weekend at a nearby college. They went to a party at a frat house and as you might expect they were drinking quite a bit. She said she was talking to some guy and there was a door right behind her. Next thing she knew he had opened the door and pushed her in. It was dark and she didn’t even know what was in there. He raped her and walked out. Time elapsed five minutes. Nightmares, a lifetime. She never told a soul.

She told me that about a year later when she had her own apartment, a friend set her up on a blind date. He picked her up and they went to dinner at a restaurant where he was a chef. She said she only had one glass of wine, yet she has no memory of anything from after dinner until the next morning when she woke up naked in her bed. Her landlord called her that morning and asked if she was okay. He had heard screaming coming from her apartment the night before and just wanted to check on her. She assumed she had been given a rape drug. More pain and shame, and again she told no one.

After a lifetime of assuming I was pro-woman, and supportive of women’s rights, it was not until I read the email from my daughter, “Stuff I Can’t Say”, that I finally began to understand the plight of women in our culture. Are you serious? This is what women are subjected to and they are just supposed to take it and keep their mouths shut. It makes me so damn mad I want to shout it to the hills, “You can’t treat another human that way and get away with it.” But in fact they are, aren’t they?

I am beginning to think my thirteen-year-old daughter was right, Men Are Pigs! Now I get why so many girls and women will not look a man in the eye or, perish the thought, actually smile or speak to them. Our male dominant culture has objectified girls and women in the media to the point of being nothing more than a living breathing sex toy, put on earth by God for men’s personal pleasure. I am afraid to speculate how many men view women as chattel, and not even human with comments like “you want some of that? I’d sure like to f— that”. Harsh? You bet! True? I’m afraid so.

Click Here for Part 2.

Randy Ellison

 

Categories: Blog Posts, Gender | 2 Comments

“That’s My Boy”

I saw something yesterday that I reacted to so strongly that I was immediately incensed. There is a new movie coming out that is based on a thirteen year-old being raped by a teacher. The concept is nothing new. We are reading about this kind of thing on a regular basis in the newspaper. It starts with a child being enamored with a charismatic adult in a position of power. Then comes the empowerment of the child by the attention of the adult (commonly called grooming). After the child’s natural defenses and normal boundaries are lowered the perpetrator moves in and physically seduces them.

There doesn’t seem to be anything surprising here for the plot of a drama. The surprising part is that this is beginning of an Adam Sandler comedy called “That’s My Boy”. A thirteen year-old boy is seduced and raped by his “photo-brushed” teacher. They could not have possibly done anything else to make her look like a playboy bunny cutout if they tried. The pull on the minds and bodies of thirteen year-old boys in the movie is made quite clear. The trailer depicts a courtroom scene with a very pregnant teacher being sentenced for a crime and the judge saying; “The fact that this has resulted in a pregnancy leaves me no choice, but to levy the maximum penalty.” At the mention of the pregnancy the 13 year-old father/victim, beams from ear to ear and gets high fives from his friends sitting behind him, aka “way to go stud.” In traditional male terms this evidently constitutes rites of passage into some perceived concept of manhood. And then a lesson comes from behind a courtroom camera in the way of an arm (presumably the boy’ father) slugging the boy across the face and saying “Dumbass.” The message I hear is obvious, it’s okay to screw them, but don’t get them pregnant.

So the movie is clearly stating that this is about boys growing up to be real men and not about child abuse and rape. But the reality is that in 2012 it behooves all of us to be aware that an estimated twenty percent of our children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. That includes one in six boys and they wear the scars and life distortions just as much as the girls do even if their abuser is a woman.

As is commonly the case the child is often still smitten with the abuser and the attention from such a powerful person long after the abuse ends. They either think it is a reciprocated love or they may go along with, and then block, the physical part just to maintain the overall relationship for the validation and power it conveys. How can a 13-14-15 year old comprehend the manipulations of an adult? The child is made to feel important and loved in a way they desire by someone who is doing nothing more that using them to fulfill their own deviant needs.

The insidiousness of this scenario on the child is devastating. In the first place it destroys all normal relational boundaries. Parental love, encouragement by a coach, caring of a teacher, guidance by a minister or priest is not supposed to include any type of sexuality. The child grows up not understanding there are different types of love and caring, some which are appropriate and some that are not.

If sexually abusing a child is not bad enough, think about the sadistic manipulation of a teen or just pre-pubescent child by knowing how easily they can be sexually aroused and using that as a tool against them. Which is exactly what the teacher does in the movie. A child may actually think they are “falling in love,” or be instantly thrown into carrying shame as a shroud from that day forward.

As a result they may grow up not respecting societies moral boundaries, crossing lines that may include becoming a perpetrator themselves. Or they may take the road of the majority of child victims knowing that there was something wrong and internalizing those feelings. In doing so, most victims take responsibility for the abuse as though it was their fault. Thus cometh the immense shame and all it’s minions; self-loathing, alcohol and drug abuse, illness, eating disorders, self-mutilation, crime, and all too frequently suicide.

This movie is insulting on many levels. The first is that it depicts child abuse and rape as a glamorous and desirable thing, under the conditions that it is a male adolescent victim and an attractive female perpetrator. The second insult is the perpetuation of a male image first objectifying women and second continuing adolescent male behavior into adulthood and thinking either is acceptable. I think not!

If you find this objectionable as well, please join me in boycotting this film and also letting the producers and distributors know just how offensive you find making a comedy about child sex abuse really is. I believe in free speech. I also believe in feedback………….. Stay tuned.

Producer:
Happy Madison Productions:  jonnyg@adamsandler.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThatsMyBoyMovie

Randy Ellison

Categories: Blog Posts, Gender | 4 Comments

Power Shift

This is part of a poem I wrote when I was feeling overwhelmed by the bureaucracy of The Church and the power they wielded. They were all men and the way they dressed, talked and walked, all spoke of how powerful they were. How do victims even begin to stand up to them, when even law enforcement can’t seem to do it in most cases? In the end that was why I hired a lawyer, because it was the only way I could envision leveling the playing field. It made it possible for me to have a face-to-face, eye-to-eye conversation that had not been available to me before.

Power

Power = Corruption

Men have Power

Men assume Power

Men abuse Power

Arrogant men abuse assumed Power

Men assume entitlement to Power

Men use assumed Power,

With no regard to those it impacts

Some men use Power to abuse

They think it demonstrates their Superiority

The whole tragedy at Penn State brings this all back to me. The sad joke has always been that ten white guys rule the world. And history has borne that out. In 1998 Jerry Sandusky’s behavior was barely reported. In 2002 he was reported and “talked to” about it. In 2011 he was arrested and charged.

Also in 2011 the head of the World Monetary Fund (definitely one of the 10 white guys) was pulled out of first class on a plane and handcuffed, and arrested for rape. In the end Mr. Strauss-Kahn turned the tables on the victim and labeled her an accuser and he was able to walk away.

I do not think Mr. Sandusky will walk from this one. My point? The times they are a changin’. Even though we have a long, long way to go, we have made amazing progress in a relatively short period of time. And the status quo that the behavior of men of power is not to be questioned is hopefully coming to an end.

And also that society as a whole is waking up to the fact that we need to protect our vulnerable population of women and children from abuse perpetuated by a small percentage of men. We need to hold those who abuse their power accountable and provide safe space for those who have been violated. Both contribute to the healing of us all.

May it be so.

Categories: Blog Posts, Gender | 2 Comments

Message From Dr. Rachel Griffin

While I was at the Roots of Change Conference in Portland, I had the privilege of hearing Dr Rachel Griffin from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale speak. She was most engaging. I was impressed with her knowledge as well as the different perspective she brought to the table being a woman of color.

One of the biggest reminders to me, a white male of economic privilege and power, was when I am speaking or working with people on abuse and violence issues is to stay aware of who I am. Her words were that I “mark my privilege first”, before I go telling people what I think.

I need to remember my world and the lens I see the world is vastly different than that of women and especially people of color. The gulf between our life experiences is as wide as the Grand Canyon, but if I listen well and am attentive, I might learn to communicate in an effective way.

A big thank you to Dr. Griffin for an excellent speech and PLEASE watch this short video of hers. And by all means share it with all the men you know.


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Message to Men and Boys

Today’s blog is a sixty second public service announcement to men and boys. Listen and believe. It’s no joke.


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This is Abuse Too

Really? Your mom has sex with your football teammates? Teenage boys and apparently a lot of grown men think the ultimate dream would be for a woman to come on to you. Reality check: this is child sex abuse! The woman is in reality no different than the forty year-old adult male having sex with a teenage girl. One we say “ick”, and the other, “go dude”? This double standard is part of the “Culture of Abuse”. Sex between a child and an adult more than four years their senior is child sex abuse, or rape, period.

In this case it’s interesting that the 17 year old reported it. He figured out something was wrong with it. He was beginning to see ramifications of it in his life. Unfortunate news, there will be more issues for him, and lots more for the 15 year-old. And since none of this happens in a bubble, how about the life-long impact on the perpetrators own teenage kids. There is quite a legacy from your parents to carry with you.

by Randy Ellison

Football mom gets jail for sex with teens
Published: Friday, October 07, 2011; Last Updated: Fri. Oct 7, 2011, 2:45pm

By Carl Hessler Jr., chessler@pottsmerc.com


NORRISTOWN — A 37-year-old Abington homemaker wept upon learning she is headed to jail for having sexual contact with two teenage boys who attended Abington High School with her own children.

Jennie Lee, of the 1600 block of Reservoir Avenue, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Wednesday to nine-to-23 months in the county jail, to be followed by four years’ probation, after she pleaded guilty to charges of statutory sexual assault and corruption of minors in connection with the inappropriate contact she had with boys who were 15 and 17 between February and April 2010.

“She didn’t allow any internal, moral compass to say, ‘This is wrong,'” Judge Steven T. O’Neill said as he imposed the punishment.

Lee, a mother of three who was supported in court by her husband, appeared stunned as sheriff’s deputies handcuffed her for the trip to jail.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Quigg sought a jail sentence against Lee, arguing that as an adult woman with teenage sons of her own, Lee should have known better than to have sexual contact with teenage boys. The victims even played on the same football team with some of Lee’s children, testimony revealed.

“She’s an adult grown woman. She has a child of the same age. How would she feel if there was a woman her age preying on her children?” Quigg said.

But defense lawyer Francis Recchuiti sought leniency for Lee, arguing the woman had already suffered “humiliation” as a result of her arrest and admission. “This woman isn’t all bad. She made inappropriate decisions. She was out of control. She didn’t exercise the proper judgment,” said Recchuiti, urging the judge to consider that the teenage boys were not forced to have sex. “They were both willing participants, as she was a willing participant. We’re not talking about a victim of clergy abuse here.”

“This was no sex being forced on to them,” Recchuiti said. “It’s sordid, it’s dirty. My client, unfortunately, was involved.”

But the judge said the boys are “children in the eyes of the law,” that Lee’s crime was also a case about “power and control” and that “she made a conscious choice to engage in this behavior.”

Quigg argued one can’t depreciate Lee’s conduct with a “wink and a nudge” because the victims were teenage boys.

“That dual standard really comes down to the fact that there’s a wink and a nudge that if boys are having sex with an older woman that it’s somehow acceptable whereas it’s different for girls,” Quigg said. “The law makes no distinction on that. The law looks at whether or not you have an adult and a child. That’s what we had here, an adult who knew exactly what she was doing, who is fully mature and who has life experience, and a 15 year old child and a 17 year old child.”

Under the law, by pleading guilty to statutory sexual assault in connection with her contact with the 15 year old, Lee admitted that she had sex with someone who was under 16 and when she was four or more years older than the victim.

The mothers of the two boys, sometimes on the verge of tears, testified they were hurt and devastated by the betrayal of another mother.

“This woman is actually older than I am and she’s having sex with my son,” one victim’s mother testified, adding it was “incomprehensible.”

While she pleaded guilty, Lee also implied that she at one point believed the 17 year old boy was really 18 and that the 17 year old boy introduced the idea of her having sex with the 15 year old.

“I was stupid. I wasn’t thinking at the time. I wasn’t really in my right mind,” Lee testified, claiming she suffers from several ailments, including a bipolar disorder, and was drinking and had had a fight with her husband shortly before her first sexual encounter with the 17 year old boy.

Lee and the 17-year-old boy had a sexually-charged Internet conversation, via Facebook, sometime between February and March 2010, during which Lee allegedly stated, “You couldn’t handle me; you don’t know what to do with an oldhead,” according to the arrest affidavit filed by Abington Detective Joseph Dalton.

The following day, Lee met the teenager and engaged in sexual activity with him in her van parked in a wooded area of the township, according to court papers. Other sexual encounters occurred in March, court papers alleged.

On April 9, the 17 year old boy brought a 15 year old friend with him and Lee engaged in sexual activity with both boys in her van, according to the arrest affidavit.

The older boy reported the sexual activity to police on April 26, which prompted the police investigation, court papers indicate.

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