Since November at least eight California cases of molestation by women against boys have made the news, says the Los Angeles Times. Most perpetrators were teachers or other school personnel. The phenomenon is not new; nor is there a growing trend. The California attorney general’s office says taht the number of females convicted of sex offenses in the state averaged 386 per year between 2000 and 2004, a number similar to previous years. The average figure for men committing similar crimes during the same time period was more than 9,000. There are no nationwide data on the number of women who sexually abuse children.
More cases of women molesting boys might be making news because of stricter law enforcement and the realization that boys can be victims of sexual misconduct. “People are more willing to report these incidents if they hear about them,” said David Finkelhor of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. “Police are more willing to investigate them; prosecutors more willing to prosecute them; newspapers more willing to write about them.” Some experts say that fascination still tends to outweigh outrage among the general public when it comes to reports of female sexual predators. Cases involving older teenagers having sex with an older woman are often viewed as a “coming-of-age scenario,” said Paul G. Mattiuzzi, a Sacramento clinical forensic psychologist. Matthew Felling of the Center for Media and Public Affairs said the news media are partly responsible for the public fascination of female sex offenders because they do not have a code of gender neutrality in pedophile coverage. Reports about male sex offenders include words like “predator” or “monster,” he said, while in stories involving female offenders words like “bombshell” and “romp” are common.