Buy a Damned T-Shirt!
Volume 2, Number 11
December, 1997

LeTourneau Ruling a Travesty

by Dave Lind

 Imagine the following scenario: A 35-year-old school teacher becomes involved in a sexual relationship with his 13-year-old student which continues for several months, results in a pregnancy, and is discovered only when the teacher's wife finds love letters from the girl and turns them over to the police. What would be the outcome of such a case? What punishment would be deemed appropriate?
 Prison time, certainly, and lots of it. No judge in his or her right mind would let such a sick, twisted pedophile off with anything less than 5-10 years of hard time, and even at that, the overriding public sentiment would be that he got off easy. A lesser sentence would surely provoke angry demonstrations and protests from feminist organizations across the country, and they would be right to do so.
 But what happens when the genders are reversed? What happens when it is a female teacher who seduces her 13-year old student and becomes pregnant with his child? I'll tell you what happens: Mary Kay LeTourneau.
 Mary Kay LeTourneau. Remember that name, for it will be remembered along with the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, and Ruby Ridge as one of the all-time great rallying cries, or at least it should.
 Mary Kay LeTourneau, for those of you who haven't been reading the papers, is the 35-year-old school teacher in Kent, Washington who had an ongoing affair with her 13-year-old student. The two exchanged rings and planned, actually planned, a pregnancy together which they then carried out, with LeTourneau giving birth to a child that the boy's mother now cares for. The whole thing came to light only after LeTourneau's husband discovered love letters written by the boy to LeTourneau. LeTourneau subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape and was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Linda Lau to six months in the county jail, three of which had already been served. Six months!
 Now let's stop and think about this. We are talking about a sexual affair between an adult in a position of community trust and a minor. We are talking about an affair that lasts for several months and results in offspring. We're talking about love letters written, given, and kept. We're talking about exchanging rings and planning children. We are not talking about a "mistake", as LeTourneau's supporters contend, we are talking about a sick, twisted pedophile who should be locked away regardless of gender.
 And no, I do not think I am over-reacting. People, she kept the love letters! How else could her husband have discovered them? By her own admission, as well as that of the child, they planned the pregnancy! What kind of sicko plans a pregnancy with a 13 year-old? And to top it all off, at her sentencing trial, LeTourneau had the brass to say that she hoped one day to be able to renew her relationship with the boy. LeTourneau's behavior, from beginning to stomach-churning end, is a step-for-step textbook definition of a serial pedophile, and she will do this again.
 But yet, where is the hue and cry? Where is NOW and the other civic-minded women's groups who have classified the penis as a weapon and who turn out in droves any time a case of sexual abuse of a female draws national attention? Where are all those people who scream for the heads of male child molesters and so loudly advocate castration or even death in such cases?
 I am here. I am speaking out. I happen to be one of those who believe that you cannot deal too harshly with sexual predators, especially those who target children. But unlike some, I believe we must apply the same standards to all offenders regardless of gender. Mary Kay LeTourneau is no different, in my eyes, than your average member of NAMBLA. If it's wrong for a man to have a sexual relationship with a boy, it is equally wrong for a woman.
 But there are those who would suggest, as did LeTourneau's attorney, that LeTourneau's crime was less severe than other similar crimes in that the victim in this case "does not feel like a victim". Certainly, it as been widely argued by many grown men, and will not be refuted here, that we would have gladly had sex with an attractive 35-year-old when we were 13 and not felt victimized in the slightest. Of course, many of us would also have (and in many cases did) gladly accept drugs and alcohol from adults and did not feel at all victimized, but of course, that does not make it any less of a crime.
 And what of the other victims of this judgment? What of the husband whose marriage was destroyed in one of the worst ways imaginable? What of the other four children who must now learn to live with the knowledge that their mother is a child-molester? What of the product of this illegal union, the child who is being raised by the victim's mother? And what happens to the victim himself when he reaches the age of maturity? Will he be forced to take over the care of this child, his child? If not, will he be required to pay child support? Perhaps more importantly, what about other male victims of child molestation, past and future? What message does this ruling send to them? Is a crime committed against them of less importance than a crime committed against a female?
 Have we heard enough, ladies and gentlemen? Are we at last ready not only to admit to the horrific double-standard at work in our criminal justice system, but to actually do something about it? The miscarriage of justice for any reason is and should be reason for unbridled outrage among the masses. The ruling of Judge Linda Lau is a travesty against all victims of child abuse across the nation, male and female, and should not, must not, go unpunished.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]