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Male vs. female sex offenses and societal bias examined

Male vs. female sex offenses and societal bias examined

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - When it comes to male versus female sex offenders, is there is a societal or legal double standard?

In light of several southern Colorado teachers, male and female, being accused of sexually assaulting students in recent years, KRDO viewers have been debating society's views on male vs. female offenses and if one is "worse" than the other.

Paul M. Isenstadt, a forensic consultant and licensed clinical social worker, evaluates sex offenders and testifies as an expert witness in legal cases.  He says that while there is a societal bias, the courts are less biased.

"There's a lot of controversy about the whole situation of morals, men and women and double standards," Isenstadt said.  "I don't really think it's a bias in terms of the legal system."

But when it comes to society, perception of victimization can be different.

"People will kid and say, 'I don't think that person's a victim. That might be a great experience they had,'" Isenstadt said.  "But the reality is the court system and prosecutors have to look at the violation."

Isenstadt says that female offenders have a lower recidivism rate, meaning they are less likely to commit repeat offenses.  Though that doesn't hold true for every case, it can contribute to women receiving a lighter sentence from a judge.

Isenstadt also believes student-teacher relationships have changed over the years.  Teachers are more accessible to students, and vice versa, because of technology.  

"There's so much instant gratification by Internet and technology," he said.  "You just hit a button and you get what you want."

It's up to the teacher to set the boundaries, according to Isenstadt.  He stresses that no matter what factors contributed to a person in a position of trust, male or female, to committing offenses, no factor excuses the behavior.

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