Reported Cases of Female sex Offenders
It is generally known that female sex offenders receive
more lenient sentences than their male counterparts (Embry et al, Sex-Based Sentencing: Sentencing Discrepancies Between Male and Female Sex Offenders. Feminist Criminology, 2012;7(2):146-162), are subject
to fewer prison assaults, and are granted earlier release
on parole. While the former decision is made by the courts,
and arguably open to possible court bias, the latter
decision is made by correctional officials, and based on relatively reliable
results from the research. Even though sexual victimization by either
males or females is a traumatizing experience, female offenders
are not as dangerous as male offenders, and combine the act
with fewer aggravating circumstances, such as weapon possession,
kidnapping, and violence. Perhaps because of this, more cases
of female sex offending go unreported. See domestic abuse for a more detailed look at rates of female victimization by men.
According to psychologist Anna C. Salter, female sex offenders
fall into three groups: the first group often victimizes their
own biological children, mostly those under the age of six;
the second group, called the "teacher/lover" group,
have sex with children in the groups they are involved with,
are usually around 30 years old and having sex with kids about
15 years old (portrayed in the 2006 movie "Notes On A Scandal", featuring Cate Blanchett as a teacher who has an affair with a 15-year-old male student); and finally, the third group are coerced into
sexual situations with children by an abusive male partner. Clinical and forensic psychologist Jackie Craissati adds an additional dimension to these three, involving the adolescent female perpetrator, who often comes from a very disturbed background ().
Male victims of female sexual abuse often suffer from many of the same conditions experienced by female victims of male abusers: chronic difficulties in maintaining relationships, severe depression and substance abuse. The parents of the boys who were sexually abused by Sue Reschke in 2013 reported that their sons started showing signs of behavioral and academic problems after the abuse took place. They became socially isolated and awkward around people, and began to suffer from anxiety and depression. The actual incidence of male victimization is also probably much higher than what is reported.
A snapshot of all reported cases of female sex offenders are
listed below (as of 2008), including a brief description
of the more famous of cases.
- In Canada, there is a general belief that the number of
female sex offenders is underestimated. 1991 nationwide
estimates by a psychologist with Central Toronto Youth Services
pegged the number of abusive women in Canada to be in the
"tens of thousands" (30 October 1991 The Hamilton
- There were 24 females on the Sex Offenders Register in Scotland as of the end of March 2012, compared to more than 3000 men. However, there are signs that female sex offending is on the rise in the UK, with phone-in reports about female sexual to the NPSCC's helpline (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) had risen by 132% over the past five years. ("Female sex abuse is still taboo despite the rising number of cases of teachers who offend", 24 March 2013, the Sunday Herald).
- According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, women
commit about 3 to 4 percent of all sex crimes (27 January
2004 Patriot-News). Nationwide, only 4% of all sexual
assaults reported to law enforcement from 1991 to 1996 were
female, while an overwhelming 96% were male. As it concerns children, however, the numbers for males and females appear more similar.
- According to Assistant Professor of Law Kay Levine, it
is estimated that 1.5 million girls and 1.1 million boys
are victims of female sexual abuse each year in the United
US selected state data
||Reported Female Sex Offenders
||Currently there are 23 registered female sex
offenders, according to the state's department of corrections.
|| In 2001, there were 471 female sex offenders
listed on the Texas Department of Corrections Sex Offender
||As of 2006, current data on the Florida Department of
Corrections reports 142 female sex offenders.
||Currently there is only 1 female sex offender
incarcerated for sexual exploitation of a child, according
to the Georgia department of corrections.
||There are 14 currently registered female sex
offenders incarcerated in Iowa.
- In 1998, just four of the 87 inmates at the New Hampshire
State Prison for Women were convicted sex offenders, compared
to the 600 male sex offenders among the 1,600 inmates at
the state's all-male Goffstown Prison (11 April 1998 Associated
Press Newswires). Kathleen Faller, a University of Michigan
researcher, estimates that approximately 20 percent of adult
offenders are women.
- In California, there were 386 female sexual offences
recorded per year, covering the period from 2000 to 2004.
This is compared to 9,000 sexual offences recorded for males.
Approximately one-fifth of all sex crimes cases the Kern
County deputy district attorney prosecutes each quarter
year (about 20-25) are committed by females. This 4-5 per
quarter, or only about 20 per year. In 1998, 471 women were
registered as sex offenders in California, less than 1 percent
of the state's roughly 70,000 sex offenders (20 August 1999
The Las Vegas Review-Journal).
- In 7 years, ending in the year 2000, the Community Youth
Network in Grayslake, Illinois reported no more than
5 reported cases of female sexual offending, compared to
the 200-250 men it saw in that same period.
- In Tennessee, between 35 and 40 female sex offenders
reside in prisons at any given time. This is compared to
the roughly 3,000 imprisoned sex-offending men. In 2002,
the Tennessee Prison for Women held only 5 female sex offenders.
- In Northern Ireland, policy researcher Dr Lisa
Bunting states that up to 5% of all sexual offences against
children are carried out by women, but many of these can
be concealed beneath the guide of childcare duties (10 January
2006 Belfast Telegraph).
- In New Jersey, populations of female sex offenders
have skyrocketed from 100 nationwide in 1980 to over 1,200
- As of 2003, there were only 4 women in the entire United
States under state violent sexual predator laws.
- Overall, about 15 percent of children are sexually harassed
or abused by a teacher while in school. Most of the convicted
are males, but it is only the females that make national
headlines, according to Hofstra University professor Charol
Famous Cases of Female Sex Offenders
- Florida teacher Debra Lafave was sentenced in March 2006
for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student.
- Sarah Bench-Salorio, a 29 year-old Orange County middle
school teacher, pleaded guilty in September of 2005 to 29
counts of "lewd conduct" with boys. One of her
victims was just 12 years old when they met.
- On Dec. 22, Jennifer Lynn Sanchez, a 31-year-old Kern
County math teacher, was charged with four counts of unlawful
sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old student, and one count
each of oral copulation and sodomy with the same student.
Three days earlier, a former San Bernardino high school
secretary pleaded guilty to statutory rape, also involving
a 17-year-old student.
- Mary Kay Letourneau, a former Seattle schoolteacher, was
jailed for having sex with a 12-year-old student
- In November of 2005, Sacramento high school teaching intern
Margaret De Barraicua, the 31-year-old mother of a 2-year-old
boy, was sentenced to one year in jail for having sex with
a special education student 15 years younger than her.
- First-grade teacher Rachael Glau, from Crystal Lake, Ill.,
was sentenced to two years' supervision for having "sexual
conduct" with a 16-year-old boy in 1998.
- In 2002, Michelle Worrall pleaded guilty to having sex
with a 13-year-old boy and performing an indecent act on
a second youth, allowing the boys to camp in the back garden
of her home in Rhyl.
- 32 year-old high school teacher Julie Feil pleaded guilty
to having a three-month sexual relationship with a 15-year-old
boy who was in her English class.
- 35 year-old Courtney Sue Reschke, of Kuna, Idaho, pleaded guilty in April 2013 to six felony counts of lewd conduct with a minor, all involving the same boy. She was also suspected of abusing several other boys, as well. The judge administered a 20-year sentence, but allowed the option for Reschke to receive treatment and possibly an early exit through parole.