In courtrooms this month, at least seven women –four of them teachers – have been charged or sentenced for having sex with boys, mostly teenagers, reports USA Today. There seem to be definitive data on whether more females are sexually abusing children. Yet the number arrested for sex crimes has risen in five of the past six years as more people consider molestation of boys as serious as that of girls. “There’s been a decline in the double standard. That’s why you’re seeing more of these cases,” says David Finkelhor of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. As more women enter law enforcement, he says the attitude that boys are willing, even lucky, participants has changed.
Experts say boys, the target of most female offenders, are less likely than girls to report them. Females account for a rising share of arrests for all sex crimes since 1995, say FBI data. Women account for 4 percent of those sexually abusing children under 18, a July 2000 Justice Department report found. In the past 18 months, at least 25 cases nationwide involved female teachers molesting students, says Prof. Robert Shoop of Kansas State University, author of “Sexual Exploitation in Schools: How to Spot It and Stop It.” A U.S. Department of Education report last year found that at least 20 percent of students reported sexual misconduct – whether verbal or physical – by a female teacher or aide.