Why female teachers target boys
THIS week, a 26-year-old married, successful science teacher was arrested in Florida after she allegedly had sex with a 14-year-old student.
Police say the woman, Stephanie Peterson, sent nude photos and also sold the teenage boy marijuana, and was charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious battery and one count of transmission of harmful materials to a minor.
Last month, a former Texas high school teacher, Alexandria Vera, who was impregnated by a 13-year-old but had an abortion, got a 10 year sentence and was thrown behind bars after pleading guilty to having sex on multiple occassions with the teenager.
And let's not forget the most famous case of all - sweet faced Mary Kay Letourneau, who was embroiled in a Seattle rape scandal that shocked the world.
In 1996, the then 34-year-old Seattle primary school teacher was busted having sex with her 12-year-old student, Vili Fualaau.
The mother-of-four was sentenced to seven years behind bars following the rape, and put on the registered sex offender list for the rest of her life.
But following her release, the pair continued their relationship - and to date, have been married, divorced and share two children together.
According to figures obtained under Freedom of Information, more than 100 women were convicted of sexual offences in the United Kingdom in 2015, a trend that's almost trebled in the past decade, The Conversation reports.
Alarmingly, that figure was mostly made up of school staff - including teachers, aids and head of schools.
So what is going on in the minds of these women? What could make them cross a line and prey on vulnerable youths?
In a piece written by Andrea Darling from the criminology department at Durham University in England and published by The Conversation, these examples of sex offenders often don't fit the "mould of what many consider a predatory paedophile".
"Unlike other sex offenders, they do not specifically enter their professions to access children," she wrote.
"Instead my research has found that many (though not all) of these women appear to abuse because of their own unmet intimacy needs resulting from relationship problems and feelings of loneliness, for example.
"These women are also different from other female sex offenders in that they are generally older, more affluent, have better social skills and less issues with substance abuse.
"Their behaviour is also to some extent influenced by the very situations they are working in."
According to the Center for Sex Offender Management, a project operated by the US Department of Justice, females account for around 10 per cent of all sex crimes reported to American authorities.
However, a much higher percentage - over 30 per cent - of all teacher-student sexual offences in the US are estimated to have been perpetrated by females.
In the latest available statistics, in 2014, just under 800 school employees in the US were prosecuted for student sex crimes - around one-third of them female.
Other experts are beginning to focus on why some women initiate sex with boys.
Dr Domenick Sportelli, a board-certified psychiatrist, told Fox News that while the psychology behind sexual activity between female adult teachers and student minors is an incredibly complex one, it has its foundations in exploiting the vulnerability of the student and is "predatory" behaviour by every definition.
"Its roots are based on the 'power' that the female teacher has, a position of dominance and control," Dr Sportelli explained.
"Perhaps the teacher is experiencing personal loneliness, dissatisfaction with her current relationship, feels the need for revenge, is experiencing lust or perhaps believes it is 'true love'.
"In many cases, there is a history of sexual and or psychological abuse toward the perpetrator.
"Many psychiatric pathologies can lead to this type of behaviour including mood disorders, personality disorders and prior sexual trauma."
Sexologist, relationship expert and author, Dr Nikki Goldstein told news.com.au that the reasoning behind more of these abuse scenarios being reported on, comes down to a number of factors.
"It could be that these situations went largely unnoticed or unreported," she said. "But also the over sexualisation of youth, the sexual empowerment of women and the young age at which we are seeing teacher enter the workforce."
In her opinion piece, Ms Darling said while this behaviour was abuse and should be punished accordingly, the impact it could have on a victim in these types of cases, was often debated.
"This is because social and cultural norms mean that women are often viewed as nurturers and carers, 'the fairer sex' and therefore not capable of sexual aggression," she wrote.
"So this means that abuse by a woman is seen as being less harmful than abuse by a man - and viewed as the result of mental instability or coercion by a male partner. And this not only minimises the offending behaviour, but it also unfairly downplays the consequences for victims.
"[But] ultimately, these inappropriate female teacher-pupil relationships need to be reported and presented in the same way they would be if the perpetrator was a male."
- with Fox News.