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Md. woman sentenced for severe child abuse

Associated Press
01/08/10 5:49 PM EST

PRINCE FREDERICK, MD. — An 8-year-old girl with scars on most of her body from regular beatings by the woman she used to call “Mommy” confronted her abuser in court Friday, telling her: “I do not think you will be going to heaven.”

The woman, Renee Bowman, is accused of killing the girl’s two older sisters and keeping their bodies in a freezer for months. She was sentenced Friday in Calvert County Circuit Court to 25 years in prison for the abuse of the surviving girl. Bowman, 44, pleaded guilty in September to first-degree child abuse.

She faces a separate trial on murder charges in Montgomery County, where the family lived previously and where her other daughters are believed to have been killed.

All three girls were former foster children adopted from the District of Columbia, and Bowman continued to collect subsidies for all of them from the D.C. government even after the older children were killed.

The surviving girl, who was 8 months old when Bowman became her foster mother, was found wandering around her Lusby neighborhood in a bloodstained nightshirt after escaping through a window in September 2008.

Police searched the home and found the bodies in the freezer, as well as a high-heeled shoe used to beat the youngest. Feces and urine were found in the girl’s bedroom and in a closet because she had been locked in both places, Calvert County State’s Attorney Laura L. Martin said. The child had human bite marks and shoe marks on her body, a piece of her lip was missing, and she had broken bones that improperly healed, Martin said. The girl could not read and authorities found no evidence that she had ever been to school.

The girl, who was dressed neatly in a black and white dress and came to the hearing with the therapist and her foster parents, appeared to shudder and put her head on her foster mother’s shoulder when Bowman was first led into the courtroom. But moments later she laughed loudly after her foster mother whispered something in her ear.

The girl was led out of the courtroom while Martin described the abuse. After she was brought back in, Martin asked her if she wanted to make a statement. Clutching a piece of paper, she walked to the front of the courtroom with her therapist by her side.

“You should never do things to little girls or little boys because God sees you and will put you on the liars list. I do not think you will be going to heaven,” she told Bowman in a barely audible voice. Martin later provided a copy of the statement.

“I’m happy now. I know my math. I read. I am in the first grade. It’s amazing I got that far,” she added. “I have a lot of people who love me.”

Martin said the girl made a point of reading the statement to prove she could read to Bowman, who claimed the girl couldn’t learn.

Before Judge Marjorie L. Clagett handed down the sentence, Bowman apologized to the judge and to the victim.

“I’m very remorseful. I don’t know what happened. I’m very sorry for my actions. … I wish her the best with her family and I’m proud of her,” she said. “Despite what Ms. Martin says, I do have love in my heart for her.”

Bowman claimed she tried to return the girl to the adoption agency after she realized she couldn’t handle her.

Public defender Dorothy Gardner-Hodge, in arguing for a lower sentence, said Bowman was abused as a child and in foster care from an early age. She said her mother and sister both suffer from mental illness and that Bowman suffers from chronic pain and has been treated for breast cancer.

Clagett sentenced Bowman to the maximum sentence allowed because of the horrific nature of the crime. She said she wouldn’t rule out sending her to serve her sentence at the Patuxent Institution, a psychiatric treatment facility that is part of Maryland’s corrections system. However, she said she would need more information before she did so.

Clagett said the system failed the girl, but told Bowman: “You were her mother. You were meant to protect her and nurture her, and all that happened was just the opposite.”

Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

3 in 4 B.C. boys on street sexually exploited by women

The Vancouver Sun, Gerry Bellett, Canwest News Service, Tuesday, May 27, 2008

VANCOUVER – Canada’s largest study into the sexual exploitation of street kids and runaways has shattered some myths about who the abusers might be – with the most surprising finding being that many are women seeking sex with young males.

“Some youth in each gender were exploited by women with more than three out of four (79 per cent) sexually exploited males reporting exchanging sex for money or goods with a female,” said Elizabeth Saewyc, associate professor of nursing at the University of British Columbia and principal investigator for the study conducted by Vancouver’s McCreary Centre Society.

“I must admit it wasn’t something we were expecting.”

The results were drawn from interviews with 1,845 youth – some as young as 12 – in surveys taken across the province between 2000 and 2006.

The stereotypical model of the child being abused – a teenage female being sexually abused by a male – was wrong, said Saewyc.

Sexual exploitation is defined as youth under 19 trading sexual activities for money, drugs, gifts, food, services, shelter, transportation or anything similar.

This can include work in brothels, escort services, pornography and Internet sex but it also includes what’s described as “survival sex,” where a child provides sex in exchange for a place to sleep, a meal or a ride.

It found one in every three of children living on the street have been sexually abused although many didn’t seem aware that they had been exploited, said Saewyc.

“It’s a shocking number. The law is clear: any adult who has sex with children for any form of consideration is exploiting them and it’s illegal,” she said.

The study found 94 per cent of females reported they had been sexually exploited by men.

But the study found that young males were being preyed upon by sexual predators of both sexes, yet the social systems in place to deter and prevent sexual predation were only designed to help females and the criminal justice system wasn’t concerned with what was happening to young males.

“Women seeking young men and boys offer transportation or other things and some go to nightclubs and bars where they can pick up under-age youth. And a certain percentage have been picked up by couples,” she said.

Saewyc said it was indicative of the prevailing myths about sexual abuse that the rehabilitation program for persons arrested by police for attempting to buy sexual favours on the street was called “John School”.

“I think it’s time we had a Jane School. There should be an equal opportunity school for women predators,” she said.

“Part of the challenge is that young males are not seen as being exploited because they are not coming to the attention of the police and the police aren’t out there picking up the perpetrators. The system is set up to handle the sexual exploitation of young women, not young men,” she said.

Community research associate Jayson Anderson said most of the programs to deal with sexual exploitation were designed by women for women. “There’s really nothing out there for males. So we need programs for young boys,” he said.

The study showed that the following youth were most likely to suffer from sexual predation:

– those who were lesbian, gay or bisexual

– Aboriginals

– those with physical or mental health issues

– those who had been abused by family members

– youth that had been in government care.

© Vancouver Sun 2008

Female Predators..They live among us!

endenfin's picture

They are real, they live among us and they will emotionally scar your little boy for life.. The movie industry has always picture the relationships woman-teenager as something to brag about, the idea of a young boy having sex with an experimented woman appears to turn some audiences on. However in a recent study Dr. Eric Hickey, PH.D. (Director of the Center for Forensic Studies – Alliant International University) describes this experience as follows: “Boys seduced by female teachers predators will usually experience long term trauma that affects their self-esteem, sense of security, and trust levels with others. A 13 year old boy will seldom grow up thinking how cool that was to have sex with his teacher, especially as they begin to understand terms such as sexual assault and child rape. Sexual violation of a child is traumatic regardless of who commits the act”. The truth is that female predators are not limited to the famous story of Mary Kay LeTourneau, the teacher that seduced her student and gave birth to his kids. Female predators could be a close friend of the family, one of his Little friend’s mothers, could be just anyone! These women are usually emotionally immature and seeking for a relationship. Some of them might have been sexually abused on their early years and are not capable to develop a normal relationship with a man their age. According to studies, 95% of predators are males and female predators are more likely to cease on his predatorial seek after being released from prison. 25 years ago, women who would had sexual relations with a minor were considered mentally sick and were sent for physiquiatric treatment only. Today, a female predator will go to prison and spend as much as a male predator depending on her crime. And how does a female predator looks like? Unfortunately, they look just like anyone of us! They are young and old, any race, and the majority or them are good looking which is a plus for them attracting young boys who, at first feel flattered because “a woman like that” is flirting with them. They will bragg with their friends and go on secret dates which will become more and more demanding by the female predator. These women want to be sexually satisfied and will treat their victims as a mature man seeking for protection and love. They will be jealous of their friends and even other teenage girls that could approach their prey. These females will do anything to keep their victims! From threatening with suicide if they leave them, to bribe them with all kind of gifts and even money. They are like a spider guarding their prey. Of course the parents of the victim are their worse enemy and the female predator will do anything on her power to turn the young boy against them to the point to make him run away from home and go to live with her. FIRST SIGNS – Look for unexplained mood changes whenever he comes back from school, don’t be afraid to ask your child even if he gets even moodier. – Establish an honest and rulesless channel of communication with your kids, predators hate that! – Meet his teachers and make sure you know all his friends and parents, don’t hesitate to ask for references. – Be aware of long periods of time chating on the Internet, your are the parent and you have the right to check on his conversations. – Place the computer in the living room or any other place where he, she won’t have much privacy. The video conversations today are full of predators chating with their victims inviting them to expose themselves in front of the camera. – If you have a gut feeling about someone approaching your son with too much interest, whatch out! Just remember this that it is not normal for an adult to want to spend all her or his free time with someone else’s child. – Check on his cellular phone conversations, you pay the bill right? Well you check it regularly and find out what numbers appear on that statment and who these numbers belong to. You will be amazed! – Check the predator’s list in your area! Although most of female predators have not yet been discovered, some of them already appear at the FDLE web sight Another useful web sight is the where you can log in and even request to be warned via e-mail when a sexual predator or sex offender moves too close to your neighborhood. Awarness and prevention are usually the most effective weapons against these criminals: use them! It is always better than deal with a traumatized child for the rest of your life.

Female Predators..They live among us! |

Sexual abuse by women of children and teens is a subject most parents and caregivers are not familiar with. Female sexual predators go unreported because of a lack of awareness by the public.

Female Sex Offenders- Sexual assault of children by females

75% of sexual predators are male and 25% are female.

86% of the victims of female sexual predators aren’t believed, so the crimes go unreported and don’t get prosecuted.

Considering these facts,  arrest statistics for child sexual offenders by gender are meaningless.

From “The Sexual Abuse by Women of Children and Teenagers”

UK TV programme – Panorama – BBC1 – 10 pm Monday, October 6th, 1997

Female Perpetration of Child Sexual Abuse: An Overview of the Problem

The American Humane Association which was responsible for gathering data from the yearly reports provided by the 50 U.S. states child protective agencies from 1973 through 1987 on child sexual abuse. They found that approximately 20 percent of substantiated cases of child sexual abuse during that time period had been perpetrated by females. More ..

We bring you this section of our website to increase your awareness of the problem. Hopefully, this increased awareness will protect more boys and girls from male and female sexual predators.

Notice how in some of the articles the term “affair” or “relationship” or “slept with” is used if the perpetrator is female. When the perpetrator is male it is more likely called “sexual assault” or “rape”.

According to David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, U.S.A. and stated in one of the largest newspapers in the U.S.A., the rise in recognition and prosecution of female sexual predators is due at least in part to the increased number of female police officers. Apparently, this results in prosecution of female sexual predators for their crimes without the police being labelled misogynistic.

From the Health Canada report of 1996
The Invisible Boy: Revisioning the Victimization of Male Children and Teens

Female Perpetrators

As recently as 10 years ago, it was a common assumption that females did not or could not sexually abuse children or youth. Even some professionals working in the field believed that women represented only about 1% to 3% of sexual abusers at most. However, mounting research evidence about sexual abuse perpetration at the hands of teen and adult females has begun to challenge our assumptions, though these earlier and dated views still tend to predominate.

The percentage of women and teenage girl perpetrators recorded in case report studies is small and ranges from 3% to 10% (Kendall-Tackett and Simon, 1987; McCarty, 1986; Schultz and Jones, 1983; Wasserman and Kappel, 1985). When the victim is male, female perpetrators account for 1 % to 24% of abusers. When the victim is female, female perpetrators account for 6% to 17% of abusers (American Humane Association, 1981; Finkelhor and Russell, 1984; Finkelhor et al., 1990). In the Ontario Incidence Study, 10% of sexual abuse investigations involved female perpetrators (Trocme, 1994). However, in six studies reviewed by Russell and Finkelhor, female perpetrators accounted for 25% or more of abusers. Ramsay-Klawsnik (1990) found that adult females were abusers of males 37% of the time and female adolescents 19% of the time. Both of these rates are higher than the same study reported for adult and teen male abusers.

Dynamics of Female-Perpetrated Abuse

Some research has reported that female perpetrators commit fewer and less intrusive acts of sexual abuse compared to males. While male perpetrators are more likely to engage in anal intercourse and to have the victim engage in oral-genital contact, females tend to use more foreign objects as part of the abusive act (Kaufman et al., 1995). This study also reported that differences were not found in the- frequency of vaginal intercourse, fondling by the victim or abuser, genital body contact without penetration or oral contact by the abuser.

Females may be more likely to use verbal coercion than physical force. The most commonly reported types of abuse by female perpetrators include vaginal intercourse, oral sex, fondling and group sex (Faller, 1987; Hunter et al., 1993). However, women also engage in mutual masturbation, oral, anal and genital sex acts, show children pornography and play sex games (Johnson, 1989; Knopp and Lackey, 1987). The research suggests that, overall, female and male perpetrators commit many of the same acts and follow many of the same patterns of abuse against their victims. They also do not tend to differ significantly in terms of their relationship to the victim (most are relatives) or the location of the abuse (Allen, 1990; Kaufman et al., 1995).

It is interesting to note in the study by Kaufman et al. (1995) that 8% of the female perpetrators were teachers and 23% were babysitters, compared to male perpetrators who were 0% and 8% respectively. Finkelhor et al. (1988) also report significantly higher rates of sexual abuse of children by females in day-care settings. Of course, Finkelhor’s findings should not surprise us given that women represent the majority of day-care employees.

Research on teen and adult female sexual abuse perpetrators has found that many suffer from low self-esteem, antisocial behaviour, poor social and anger management skills, fear of rejection, passivity, promiscuity, mental health problems, post-traumatic stress disorder and mood disorders (Hunter et al., 1993; Mathews, Matthews and Speltz, 1989). However, as in the case of male perpetrators, research does not substantiate that highly emotionally disturbed or psychotic individuals predominate among the larger population of female sexual abusers (Faller, 1987).

There is some evidence that females are more likely to be involved with co-abusers, typically a male, though studies report a range from 25% to 77% (Faller, 1987; Kaufman et al., 1995; McCarty, 1986). However, Mayer (1992), in a review of data on 17 adolescent female sex offenders, found that only 2 were involved with male co-perpetrators. She also found that the young women in this study knew their victims and that none experienced legal consequences for their actions.

Self-report studies provide a very different view of sexual abuse perpetration and substantially increase the number of female perpetrators. In a retrospective study of male victims, 60% reported being abused by females (Johnson and Shrier, 1987). The same rate was found in a sample of college students (Fritz et al., l 981). In other studies of male university and college students, rates of female perpetration were found at levels as high as 72% to 82% (Fromuth and Burkhart, 1987, 1989; Seidner and Calhoun, 1984). Bell et al. (1981) found that 27% of males were abused by females. In some of these types of studies, females represent as much as 50% of sexual abusers (Risin and Koss, 1987). Knopp and Lackey (1987) found that 51% of victims of female sexual abusers were male. It is evident that case report and self-report studies yield very different types of data about prevalence. These extraordinary differences tell us we need to start questioning all of our assumptions about perpetrators and victims of child maltreatment.

Finally, there is an alarmingly high rate of sexual abuse by females in the backgrounds of rapists, sex offenders and sexually aggressive men – 59% (Petrovich and Templer, 1984), 66% (Groth, 1979) and 80% (Briere and Smiljanich, 1993). A strong case for the need to identify female perpetrators can be found in Table 4, which presents the findings from a study of adolescent sex offenders by O’Brien (1989). Male adolescent sex offenders abused by “females only” chose female victims almost exclusively.

Table 4

Victim Gender Based on Who Previously Abused the Perpetrator

Gender of Perpetrators’ Own Victimizer Gender of Victim Male or Both Female Only
Male only 67.5% 32.5%
Female only 6.7% 93.3%

Berkowitz (1993), in a Winnipeg-based study of sexually abused males in treatment groups, found the following rates of perpetration.

Table 5

Gender of Abusers of Male Victims in Treatment Groups

N %

Gender of Abusers N %
Intrafamilial Abuse (N=54)Male perpetrated 54 100.0
Female perpetrated 39 72.2
Extrafamilial Abuse (N=55)Male adult 50 90.9
Female adult 30 54.5
Male adolescent 39 70.9
Female adolescent 24 43.6

Read the complete report  The Invisible Boy: Revisioning the Victimization of Male Children and Teens – 1996

Video Documentary – Female Sexual Predators

When girls do it: an examination of female sexual predators

The Canadian Children’s Rights Council recommends this video documentary to all law makers, police, child protection workers, educators, school teachers and organizations concerned about recognizing female sexual predators.

This documentary originally aired on CTV in August, 2001

Reporter comments about a female sexual predator:

“In September 1997, she was making her first court appearance and I remember the first time I saw her I was immediately flabbergasted because she looked so innocent. She was so slight, small in her build, and so young, and I thought, ‘she can’t be a sex offender, it’s impossible.'”

– Reporter Cheryl Jahn, speaking about convicted sexual offender Crystal Henricks

From the website of “When Girls Do It” ( website deleted Oct. /04)

“When Girls Do It” is a 45-minute video examining the motivations of female sexual predators, the destructive effects of their actions on their victims, and the reluctance of victims to come forward.

“When Girls Do It” features compelling testimony and powerful interviews with survivors of abuse by female sexual offenders, therapists, and psychologists. The documentary delves into related issues including the long-held misconception that sexual abuse of children is exclusively a male crime.

Vancouver filmmaker Glynis Whiting produced, a hard-hitting investigation of one of the most under-reported crimes in North America. When Girls Do It: The Story of Female Sexual Predators is a provocative and passionate look at the motivations of women who abuse and the devastating effects of their crime on their victims.

“We’re always shocked to hear stories of sexual abuse, but it seems all the more disturbing when the abusers are women,” said Whiting, who wrote and directed the groundbreaking documentary.

Maureen Prentice, who produced When Girls Do It with Whiting, added, “There is a long-held perception in society of women as nurturing mother figures. Victims of female sexual abuse are often reluctant to come forward because they fear not being believed.”

The most common offenders are relatives, with mothers topping the list. But it could be anyone baby-sitters, neighbours or teachers.

Crystal Henricks, a 19-year-old woman convicted of drugging and molesting children, serves as a case study. The one-hour documentary also includes interviews with a female sexual offender, victims who have survived female sexual abuse, and international experts who provide insight and debate into the crime.

Filmed on location in Prince George, Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Dallas, When Girls Do It explores the human reality behind female sexual abuse. It underscores the urgent need for victims to feel secure in identifying female sexual predators in order to prevent countless other children from becoming victims.

Ordering information

Moving Images Distribution
402 West Pender Street, Suite 606
Vancouver, BC    V6B 1T6   CANADA
tel: (604) 684-3014
fax: (604) 684-7165

Female Sexual Offenders / Predators in the News

Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

Teacher gets six months

The Standard-Freeholder, Cornwall, ON, By DAVID NESSETH, October 30, 2008

Jennifer Toews - Convicted sex offenderFormer Ingleside teacher Jennifer Dorland was sentenced to six months in jail Tuesday for a sexual relationship with a male student in 2004.

Dorland is in her early 40s; the boy – whose identity is protected by a publication ban – was 13 at the time of the incident at Dorland’s Ingleside home.

Dorland, who is now known as Jennifer Toews, was found guilty of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching on Dec. 20, 2007. More..

Ottawa Citizen

Female Teacher’s licence revoked following sex convictions

Ottawa Citizen, Andrew Seymour, Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Cornwall-area teacher convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old student has had her teacher’s licence revoked.

The Ontario College of Teachers withdrew the teaching licence of Jennifer Dorland, 42, earlier this month after finding her guilty of eight counts of professional misconduct under the Ontario College of Teachers Act.

Ms. Dorland, who now goes by the name Jennifer Toews, pleaded no contest to the accusations. She did not attend the May 6 hearing or have a lawyer make arguments on her behalf.

In their decision, the three-member disciplinary panel found that Ms. Dorland’s actions “betrayed the trust of students, parents and the public.” More..

Chronicle Herald logo

Babysitter jailed for sexually assaulting boy

Woman, 40,  handed 2 1/2 years  for multiple sexual encounters

CanadianCRC Editor: Notice the discriminatory wording if the sexual offender is female and the child that was sexually assaulted is male. The use of the words “affair”, “relationship”, “sexual encounter”, “sexual tryst”.  Notice that she didn’t get jail time. The female judge agreed that the offender should get  2 1/2 years in jail and then gave her time “in the community”, effectively no sentence. The female sexual predator also blamed her actions on her ex-husband and the boy victim, a common pattern these days in which female perpetrators of domestic violence are told they are always the victim.

The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, N.S., January 19, 2008, by Jennifer Stewart, Court Reporter

For months Pamela Ruth Collins bonded with the 12-year-old boy she was hired to babysit.

But that’s not all the former Halifax woman was doing.

Ms. Collins, 40, was sentenced Monday to 2½ years in prison for  seducing  the now 15-year-old Halifax boy into  having sex with her  on dozens of occasions between July 1, 2004, and May 20, 2005.  More..

Canadian Press

Quebec woman gets 15 months for having sex with boy when he was 13

Canadian Press, various newspapers and media across Canada, Thursday, March 29, 2007

QUEBEC (CP) – A Quebec woman who  had sex   with a 13-year-old boy has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.

The  relationship  between Julie Dorval, 31, and the boy began after the youth made advances over the Internet. Within about three months they had sex on several occasions. Youth protection services were called after Dorval and the teenager were seen walking hand-in-hand and hugging each other. Dorval pleaded guilty last April to sexual assault.

Prosecutors had been seeking a sentence of at least two years in a federal penitentiary, while the defence suggested a conditional sentence of nine to 12 months.

© The Canadian Press 2007

CanadianCRC editor’s note: Notice how in cases in which the adult sexual predator is a female, the articles use words such as above “having sex” or below “having an affair” and not sexual assault.  If this had been a 31 year old male who sexually assaulted a 13 year old female, the sentence is typically more. In addition, sentencing a male perpetrator to at least 2 years in prison would put the prisoner in federal penitentary.

Claire Lyte

Convicted female sex offender:
Claire Lyte on her way into court.

The Daily Mail UK

‘How I found my 13-year-old daughter having sex with her lesbian tennis coach’

Daily Mail, Liverpool, UK, By JAMES TOZER – 3rd October 2007

The mother of a young tennis star yesterday described the moment she allegedly found the 13-year-old and her female coach naked in bed together.

The woman said she screamed “You are nothing but a paedophile!” at 29-year-old Claire Lyte after stumbling across the pair performing sex acts on each other.

However, she told a court she did not report the incident to police because Lyte’s father begged her not to ruin her coaching career and insisted it would not happen again. More..

The Daily Mail UK

“Wicked” lesbian tennis coach jailed for nearly three years over affair with 13-year-old pupil

Daily Mail, Liverpool, UK,By LIZ HULL, 2nd November 2007

A tennis coach who molested a 13-year-old girl pupil was condemned as “wicked” yesterday as she was jailed for almost three years.

Claire Lyte, 29, was entrusted with helping to develop the next generation of young stars, but instead took advantage of the infatuated teenager.

Her breach of trust was exposed when the girl’s mother discovered them naked in bed together, but such was the hold Lyte had on the youngster that the abuse continued for months afterwards.

Yesterday, a judge told the former Wimbledon player that she corrupted and manipulated the youngster for her own “selfish sexual ends”. More..

Los Angeles Times

Not Only Men Are Molesters

There is just one female violent sexual predator locked up in the state, but experts say rape and child abuse by women is vastly underreported.

The Los Angeles Times, By MAURA DOLAN, Times Staff Writer, August 16, 2002

There are 351 men in California locked up in a state mental hospital as sexually violent predators, prone to attack again and again.

Then there is Charlotte Mae Thrailkill.

The 43-year-old mother of two is California’s only female violent sex offender, confined to a maximum-security state mental hospital after experts decided she was too dangerous for release.

Only a handful of women, including Thrailkill, have ever been confined to mental institutions under state laws that allow for civil commitments of sex criminals after they have served their prison terms.

Charolette Mae Thrailkill - Female Sexual Predator

Charlotte Mae Thrailkill (Department of Corrections)

Women are less likely than men to commit sex offenses, but they also are less likely to be reported and prosecuted. Many experts contend that women commit sex offenses far more often than is generally believed.

“It happens a lot more than gets reported, and I think part of that is due to our culture,” said Steven B. Blum, a consulting psychologist to a sex offender program in Nebraska. “There are a lot of women who have sexual contact with teenage boys, and they don’t get reported.”

Paul Federoff, a forensic psychiatrist in Ottawa, Canada, said one of the female sex offenders he counsels is an exhibitionist. She opens her living room curtains and strips off her clothes when people pass by.

He told her that unless she stopped this illegal activity, she would be arrested.

” ‘Doctor, if someone calls up and says he saw me disrobing in the window, who do you think they are going to arrest? Me or him?’ ” Federoff said she replied.

“And she is absolutely right.” More..

Los Angeles Times

Tracy woman faces charges of kidnapping, raping and killing girl, 8

The Los Angeles Times, By Alexandra Zavis, April 15, 2009

Melissa Huckaby - female sex offender  rapist

Melissa Huckaby, 28, cries during her arraignment in which she’s charged with murder with the special circumstances of kidnapping, rape with a foreign object and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child.

With distraught members of the suspect’s and victim’s families present, a judge continues Melissa Huckaby’s arraignment to April 24. She is being held in the death a neighbor girl, Sandra Cantu. More..

Female Flasher begs to be free

Second time she’s been convicted

The Winnipeg Sun,  SUN MEDIA, by DEAN PRITCHARD, May 29, 2008

A 21-year-old woman convicted for the second time of exposing herself in front of school children begged to be released from jail yesterday, claiming she has learned her lesson.

“I promise I won’t do it again, I mean it this time,” said the woman…

Police arrested the woman May 12 after she exposed her breasts to a passing truck at the intersection of St. John’s Avenue and Charles Street, in plain view of a nine-year-old boy a short distance away.

“I didn’t mean to do that in front of the kid, I didn’t see him,” the woman said.

Court heard the woman “frequently acts impulsively” and lives on her own with the support of around-the-clock social workers.

At the time of her arrest, the woman was bound by a strict probation order in connection with a similar incident two months earlier.

The woman was standing across the street from an elementary school at 8:30 a.m. when she exposed her breasts to three passing school buses and dozens of children walking on the sidewalk, community prosecutor Susan Helenchilde told court. More..

St. Petersburg Times

No jail time for Lafave

The former middle school teacher pleaded guilty to the charges in Hillsborough and Marion counties. She will serve three years of community control.

Ste. Petersburg Times, Tampa, Florida, U.S.A., By CANDACE RONDEAUX, November 22, 2005   More..


Plea Deal in Teacher-Student Sex Case Garnering National Attention

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, January 5, 2007

Cameo Patch Sex offender.jpgA Tooele prosecutor is defending his decision to make a plea deal for a substitute teacher accused of having sex with a student. It’s an issue that’s getting national attention.

Sean Hannity: “Another teacher accused of sex with a student.”

In September, a judge ordered the substitute teacher, 29-year-old Cameo Patch, to serve three years of probation, pay a two-thousand dollars fine, undergo psychosexual evaluation and take part in treatment. More..

Newspaper claims confirmation of Homolka baby

National Post, Friday, February 09, 2007

The Toronto Sun is claiming it has confirmation that released sex killer Karla Homolka has given birth to a baby boy.

Citing an anonymous letter sent to the Journal de Montreal, which Ms. Homolka was first admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital with contractions last Tuesday, well before the rumour mill about her possible baby kicked off.

The Sun story claims under the name Leanne Teale, Homolka gave birth to a 7-pound baby boy Saturday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Montreal. More..

MSN-Mainichi Daily News

Woman who cut off her newborn son’s private parts handed 5-year prison term

Mainichi Daily News, Sakai, Osaka, Japan, November 26, 2006

SAKAI, Osaka — A woman accused of cutting off her newborn son’s private parts in 2004 was ordered Monday to spend five years behind bars.

The Sakai branch of the Osaka District Court convicted Shizue Tamura, 27, a resident of Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, of inflicting bodily injury.

“The way she committed the crime was unprecedented, inhumane and cruel,” Presiding Judge Masahiro Hosoi said as he handed down the ruling. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term. More ..

Female Sex Offenders: Double Standard?

Many Say They Don’t Get Treated As Harshly As Men

CBS,  HAMMONTON, N.J., USA, June 15, 2006

Are all sex offenders treated the same? Does the public take the cases as seriously when the offender or alleged offender is a woman? Many people are asking those questions after several highly-publicized scandals involving female teachers and male students.

As Susan Koeppen observed on The Early Show Thursday, the majority of sex offenders are men, but it’s the women who get a lot of the attention.

When a beautiful teacher seduces a student, some people think, “What’s the harm?”

But Koeppen spoke with one student who says his  “affair”  with a teacher left him devastated.

“I’m still trying to battle back,” Jason Eickmeyer told Koeppen. “This happened in 2003, and it’s 2006, and I still can’t get it out of my mind.” More ..

A History of Sex With Students, Unchallenged

New York Times, U.S.A.,  By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI, October 10, 2006

BAYONNE, N.J. Many in this gray, insular city are at a loss to explain why Diane Cherchio West was allowed to continue working in the public school system for two decades after she was caught in 1980 kissing and groping a 13-year-old student at an eighth-grade dance.

Why, after her promotion to guidance counselor at Bayonne High School, no one alerted social services, school officials or the police when she became pregnant by an 11th grader she supervised, Steven West, and married him upon his graduation in 1985.

Or why, when that baby, Steven Jr., grew to be a teenager, no one balked as his 15-year-old friend moved in with Ms. West, who then seduced the friend with Scooby-Doo boxer shorts and evening jaunts to sports bars and used her school authority to rearrange his classes around their  secret trysts.

It was not until 2001, when relatives of the boy, Christopher Castlegrande, filed a complaint with the police of statutory rape against Ms. West, that she left her $74,000-a-year job and lost her unfettered access to Bayonne High Schools students. More ..

Female Teacher charged with sexual assault

Media Release – Peel Regional Police Services

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Investigators with the Special Victims Unit have arrested and charged a 36 year-old Mississauga teacher in relation to alleged inappropriate conduct and contact with a student.

It is alleged that the 17 year-old victim, who is a Mississauga resident, was taught by the accused at Streetsville Secondary School. During October of 2006, it was discovered the accused had corresponded on-line with the victim, with e-mails containing sexually explicit content.

It is also alleged that during October 2006, the victim and the accused met in Mississauga, and at that time a sexual assault occurred. More ..

Associated Press logo

Woman who lied about rape gets prison

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Thursday, October 12, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A woman who lied about getting pregnant through date rape and abandoned her newborn in a trash bin was sentenced to prison for the statutory rape of the baby’s father, her 12-year-old cousin.

Twyana Davis, 30, claimed in 1995 that she had been raped at a party, and told her story in a book and on television.

Davis was sentenced Tuesday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to 10 to 25 years in prison. She had confessed to having a  sexual relationship  with the cousin, leading to her pregnancy.

Judge Michael J. Holbrook labelled her a sexual predator and fined her $10,000. More ..

CBS News

Female Sex Offenders: Double Standard?
Many Say They Don’t Get Treated As Harshly As Men

CBS NEWS USA, The Early Show, HAMMONTON, N.J., June 15, 2006

(CBS) Are all sex offenders treated the same? Does the public take the cases as seriously when the offender or alleged offender is a woman? Many people are asking those questions after several highly-publicized scandals involving female teachers and male students.

As Susan Koeppen observed on The Early Show Thursday, the majority of sex offenders are men, but it’s the women who get a lot of the attention.

When a beautiful teacher  seduces a student , some people think, “What’s the harm?”

But Koeppen spoke with one student who says his “affair” with a teacher left him devastated. More..

North Country Gazette

Woman Seeking Child Support Jailed On Rape Charge

North Country Gazette, New York, U.S.A., October 5, 2006

WARRENSBURG, NY, U.S.A. –A woman who went to Warren County Family Court in an effort to make the father of her child pay child support is in jail, charged with second degree rape and faces up to seven years in prison.

Kimberly A. Baker, 22, of Evergreen Lane, was criminally charged with statutory rape after it was learned that father of her 2-year-old child was only 13 years old when he had sex with her. The child was born on June 14, 2004. More ..

Teacher Sentenced For Sex With Student

Woman Had Faced 66 Months In Prison

NBC Sandiego, U.S.A., September 26, 2006

Danielle Walls, rapist

Danielle Walls, 27, a former Clairemont High School history teacher, was accused by prosecutors of having sex two years ago with a male student in her 10th-grade history class. Deputy District Attorney Dwayne Moring said Walls had sex with the boy 10 to 25 times at four or five hotels around the county.

On Tuesday, Walls was sentenced to one year in jail and will also be on probation for five years. Walls had faced up to five years and six months in prison. She could have been sentenced to as much as 16 years in prison if she had been convicted of all the original charges. More ..

Husband Cooker Loses Appeal

Karen Knight stabbed her common-law husband, 44-year-old Mr Price, 37 times with a butcher’s knife before skinning him and hanging his hide from a meat hook in their lounge room on February 29, 2000.

She then decapitated him and put his head in a pot on the stove, baked flesh from his buttocks and cooked vegetables and gravy as side dishes to serve to Mr Price’s children.  More..

Mother pleads guilty to molesting son for ‘master’

Ottawa Sun, By TONY BLAIS, May 2 , 2006

EDMONTON — A 38-year-old Edmonton woman admitted yesterday she sent sexual pictures of herself and her young son to her Ottawa “master” in an online chat room specializing in bondage.

The woman, who has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual interference with a person under 14 and one count of transmitting child pornography. More ..

More women charged in sex cases

By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY, November 30, 2005

In courtrooms nationwide this month, at least seven women four of them teachers have been charged or sentenced for  having sex  with boys, mostly teenagers. One of the women is pregnant.

Tuesday in Georgia, Lisa Lynette Clark, 37, was indicted in the molestation of her son’s 15-year-old friend, who she says is the father of the baby she’s expecting. She was arrested one day after marrying the boy.

No definitive data exists 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 heinous 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, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. As more women enter law enforcement, he says the old attitude that boys are willing, even lucky, participants has changed. More ..

ABC News

Female Teacher Re-Arrested in Alleged Sex Assault Case

ABC News – KVIA-TV, TX, U.S.A. October 5, 2005

EL PASO, TX. [U.S.A.] – An El Paso school teacher faces another criminal complaint in New Mexico, which means she’s now been charged six times. ABC-7 has learned that Las Cruces Police have again arrested 52-year-old Donna McKnight for alleged sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old boy.

Ms. McKnight was previously charged with one count of Criminal Sexual Penetration, one count of Criminal Sexual Contact, and two other related charges in Dona Ana County. She was also charged with one count of Indecency with a Child by exposure in El Paso County. More..

Donna McKnight - Female Sex offender

EP Teacher/Husband Face More Abuse Accusations

KFOX News, TX, USA, August 29, 2005 — by: Elizabeth O’Hara

An El Paso teacher and her husband face new allegations of sexual abuse, this time allegedly involving their children

Las Cruces Police arrested 53 year old Donna McKnight and her husband, Ronald, Monday morning at the Century-21 Motel off North Main Street. Police were alerted to the couple by a family member and say the two were not trying to flee but were allegedly going to see an attorney. Both are being held on $50,000 dollar cash bonds.   More..

Female Teacher’s Sex Trial Begins

NBC5i TV, Dallas-Fortworth, Texas, U.S.A. August 2, 2005

FORT WORTH, Texas — A 13-year-old boy took the witness stand in the Tarrant County Courthouse Tuesday to testify against a teacher at a Catholic school. The boy told jurors that he and the teacher had a  sexual relationship , and that she promised the boy she would leave her husband so she and the boy could get married when he turned 18.

The allegations of sexual contact included episodes of bondage, during which 30-year-old Dawn Reiser is accused of tying up the boy to engage in repeated sexual encounters. The prosecution produced scarves allegedly used by Reiser to bind the boy.

The jury also saw love letters allegedly sent by Reiser to the boy. A DNA expert testified about saliva that sealed the envelopes. More ..

Judge Delivers Sentence In Teacher’s Sex Trial

Dawn Reiser To Serve 8-Year Prison Sentence

NBC5i TV, Dallas-Forthworth, Texas, U.S.A., August 3, 2005

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Fort Worth judge Thursday sentenced a Grapevine teacher for  having sex  with her 13-year-old student.

Judge Wayne Salvent followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced former seventh-grade teacher Dawn Reiser, 30, to as many as eight years in prison and at least two years of probation.

NBC 5 reported that Reiser was sentenced to 10 years of probation to be served concurrently with her prison term. If she serves the full eight years, she would serve two years of probation. More ..

Is Johnny  sleeping  with his teacher?

Edmonton Sun, By MINDELLE JACOBS, February 2, 2006

Once upon a time, if parents found out their teenage sons were having sex, the most they had to worry about was if the kids were using birth control.

These days, there’s another worry: Is little Johnny  sleeping with his teacher?

When I was in high school three decades ago, I don’t recall reading about a single instance anywhere of a female teacher becoming sexually involved with a male student.

In the past few years, however, the reported incidence of female educators engaging in  sexual hijinks with male students  has been, if not routine, certainly far from a rarity.

The latest case to hit the press is that of a 40-year-old Ontario teacher charged last week with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old male student. More ..

8-Year-Old Boy Charged For Sexual Conduct With 14-Year-old Female Sitter After She Initiates  Sexual Misconduct

KUTV, CBS Broadcasting,  Salt Lake City, U.S.A., July 28, 2005

(KUTV) SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. –  A mother is upset after a 14-year-old babysitter  engaged in sexual conduct  with her eight-year-old boy, and the eight-year-old was charged with lewd conduct.

Prosecutors have since dropped the charges against the boy, but his mother is still concerned.

The  sexual conduct  occurred during a game of “truth or dare” while the boy was being watched by the babysitter.

Prosecutors say that, while the babysitter initiated the contact, the young boy was a willing participant. More ..

Abuse cases face double standard

USA TODAY, By Charisse Jones, U.S.A. national newspaper, February 11, 2005

When a female teacher in Tennessee was charged this week with  having sex  with a 13-year-old male student, the case focused attention on a type of sexual abuse that often goes unreported.

While there is a greater awareness of such crimes, the Tennessee prosecutor pursuing the recent case, along with several psychologists, say such incidents are still viewed less seriously than those involving grown men and girls.

“Unfortunately, they look at it as the ‘Mrs. Robinson syndrome’ and think everything is OK,” says Dale Potter, district attorney for Warren and Van Buren counties in Tennessee. He was referring to the woman in the 1967 film The Graduate who seduces a younger man.

“But it’s my understanding there are some long-term effects for male victims in this kind of situation,” he says. “And from my perspective, a sex-abuse case is a sex-abuse case. We don’t look the other way as to who the victim is and who the suspect is.”

Pamela Turner, 27, an elementary school teacher in McMinnville, Tenn., was charged Monday with having sex with a student at his home and at school. More ..

Female teacher jailed over  affair

Thursday, May 5, 2005

SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) — An Australian female teacher has been jailed for six months for  having sex  with a teenage student, with a warning from the judge that future offenders could not expect such “lenient” treatment.

Karen Louise Ellis, a 37-year-old physical education teacher, had earlier received a suspended sentence of 22 months after she pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual penetration with a boy aged under 16.

But the Supreme Court of Victoria’s Court of Appeal in Melbourne upheld an appeal by prosecutors against the leniency of that sentence, saying that mother-of-three Ellis should have been sentenced to two years’ jail on each of the counts. More ..

CanadianCRC editor: Notice the words “having sex”  in the article and  in the title “affair”.  This is gender discrimination. You won’t find articles that call it an “affair”  when the sexual offender is a 37 year old male teacher and the victim is a teenage girl under 16 years of age.   Why did the judge consider giving, in the judge’s own words,  a “lenient” sentence?  A 37 year old man would not have initially received a suspended sentence for 6 counts of sexual penetration of girl under 16 years of age.

The Age newspaper logo

Mother faces 22 boy-sex charges

The Age, Australia, By Selma Milovanovic, December 4, 2004

A female integration aide at a Victorian school has been charged with sexual offences against a boy in her care aged under 16.

The woman, 36, an integration aide at a government secondary school on the Mornington Peninsula, worked with the boy, who suffers from language difficulties, three days a week.

The student is not intellectually disabled.

Most of the offences are believed to have happened at the boy’s home. The woman is believed to have lived with the student and his family for some time this year while going through a traumatic separation. The alleged  sexual affair  took place over eight months.

The teenager is believed to have recently confessed the details to his parents. More ..

NewYork  Post


New York Post, By LEONARD GREENE and DAN MANGAN, November 8, 2004

A 29-year-old Connecticut woman accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old boy for months says she considers the little neighbor her “boyfriend” and hopes to marry him someday, authorities said yesterday.

“I don’t want anyone but you!” Tammy Imre allegedly wrote in a letter to the boy, who was a playmate of Imre’s 7-year-old daughter. More ..

Media / Media Bias

Media makes light of sexual assault on 8-year-old boy

Canada Free Press, by Arthur Weinreb, Associate Editor, November 12, 2004

Earlier this week, a 29-year-old Connecticut woman, Tammy Imre was charged with one count each of sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. The charges stem from sexual assaults committed on an 8-year-old boy, who was a playmate of her 7-year-old daughter. Imre claimed that the little boy was her “boyfriend” whom she planned to marry some day and did not know how many times she had sexually assaulted him. On some occasions these assaults took place in front of the single mothers little girl. More ..

29 Year old female perpetrator of sexual assault on 8 year old boy claims she’s the “victim”

Tammy Imre, 29, a receptionist in Stratford, Conn., was charged with repeatedly  having sex with an 8-year-old boy. Imre’s mother blamed the boy. Its not her . . . she was just too friendly; that’s all, said the mother. He’s the one who needs to be looked at.

ABC News

Picking Up the Pieces

Husband of Teacher Accused of Having Sex With Student Stunned, Confused

Owen Lafave (left) says he still loves his wife, Debra, a teacher, even though she allegedly had sex with one of her students.

ABC NEWS Sept. 16, 2004 The estranged husband of a 23-year-old Tampa teacher accused of  having sex  with her 14-year-old student says he still loves his wife even after filing for divorce last week.  More ..

ABC News

Acceptable Suspects? Why Female Sex Offenders Generate So Much Less Outrage Than Males

Mary Kay Letourneau with Barbara Walters during her exclusive interview with 20/20. (Virginia Sherwood/ABC Photo) By Bryan Robinson

Sept. 30, 2004 Mary Kay Letourneau’s plans to marry the former student she was convicted of sexually assaulting when he was just 12 years old are shocking, but have generated relatively little public outrage.  More..

Mistake for Love – Former High School Teacher Regrets Affair With Her One-Time Student

Heather Ingram says she now regrets having an affair with her former student.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Sept. 30 /04 Until Heather Ingram met Dusty Dickeson, she never considered risking her successful teaching career for the attention of a boy, even if he embodied everything she desired during her own high school days.  More..

Associated Press

Rapist of 12 year old gets out of jail today

Notorious teacher seduced preteen student

Associated Press, CNN, various newspapers, U.S.A., Wednesday, August 4, 2004 More..

Study finds girls molest young boys

THE PRESS, NZ, By TIM HUME, July 1, 2004  More..

Associated Press

Focus of Catholic sexual abuse suits now includes nuns

Associated Press, various newspapers U.S.A. and some Canadian newspapers, ELLEN R. STAPLETON, Aug. 2, 2004  More..

Jamaica Gleaner

Hurting the cradle: women  seducing  boys

Jamaica Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica, by Avia Collinder, Sunday Gleaner Writer, March 4, 2007

Health professionals worry that the reported incidents of women raping young boys are few, the actual occurrence is believed to be higher and is causing long-term psychological damage to victims.

“In terms of the most current statistics on child abuse, this is not reflected as a large problem. But it is my sense that it is even more grossly under-reported and under-recognised than the typical child abuse scenario involving an older male perpetrator and younger female victim,” says Dr. Judith Leiba, head of the Child Guidance Clinic at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston. “We have seen a few examples where the helper was involved, and in another situation, it was an older female cousin. Usually these boys were in the age group of five to eight years old,” Dr. Leiba reports.  More..

Associated Press

Female Teacher Charged With Sex Assault on Seventh-Grade Boy

Associated Press, Fox News, various newspapers in U.S.A. and Canada, Tuesday, February 25, 2003

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A 35-year-old seventh-grade teacher was charged with  having sex  with one of her students at least 20 times at the teacher’s home.

Jodi Thorp, 35, surrendered to authorities Monday on charges of aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. Prosecutors claim she had sex with the boy at her Mendham home between June 2001 and September 2002. The boy is now 15.
The boy, whose name was withheld, had been in Thorp’s seventh-grade social studies class and was one of the first participants in a nonprofit business Thorp ran called HUGS, Helping Underprivileged and Gifted Students, prosecutors said.   More..

Judge upholds teacher’s sex indictment

Details of Mendham Township woman’s behavior toward boy, 14, called relevant

By Peggy Wright, The Daily Record, Morristown NJ, U.S.A. June 25, 2004  More..

Teen killer and sexual mutilator, Karla Homolka, gets out of jail July 5th, 2005, 1 year from today

The Globe and Mail

.. she badly, badly wants to be a mother. More ..

Toronto Sun


Kids of abusive ‘monster’ got life sentence

Toronto Sun, By HIMANI EDIRIWEERA, March 9, 2003

He’s a man in pain, chased by the ghosts of his past. His greatest fear as a child wasn’t the monsters in his closet; his greatest fear was the monster he called “mom.” More..


What Drives Women Like Convicted Paedophile Carolyn Bromily to Hurt the Children They are Supposed to be Caring For?

The Manchester Evening News ( UK ) Page 10. Friday, January 28, 2000

The discovery over the last decade that child abuse was endemic in care homes across England and Wales was a body blow to society. The idea that vulnerable youngsters were taken from perceived danger only to be placed in the hands of evil paedophiles was deeply shocking.

Several men are currently serving significant jail sentences and long- term police inquiries are continuing in Greater Manchester and across the country

The latest appalling case to come to light was that of a care worker who abused boys as young as 12 for 15 sordid years at a residential school in Cheshire. But this was more startling than any of its predecessors, for in this case the predatory paedophiles was a woman.

Carolyn Bromiley, 36, from Warrington,  had sexual intercourse  with boys from 1984 until her arrest last year.  More ..

The Manchester Evening News

Pervert Woman Carer who Preyed on Boys is Jailed

The Manchester Evening News ( UK ) Page 4, Friday January 28th. 2000, BY ANDREW NOTT

A WOMAN preyed on little boys for sex for 15 years while working as a house mother in a care home for troubled youngsters.

Today Carolyn Bromiley was starting a five-year jail term for what the judge said was “the worst case of a woman abusing children in her care any court in the land has had to face.”

The serial paedophiles groomed boys between the ages of 12 and 14 before involving them in intercourse and other sexual activity.

Warrington Crown Court heard she had a warped perception of the boys and referred to her abuse as “relationships.” The 37-year-old mother-of-one believed her virgin victims desired her sexually and after sex she would tell some of them that she loved them.  More ..

Fox News logo

When Ms. Teacher Goes After Male Pupil

FOX News, U.S.A., By Catherine Donaldson-Evans, February 12, 2005

Female teachers accused of sex crimes against underage male students have been grabbing headlines lately. Many of them are young and beautiful, their stories sordid and intriguing.

But to law enforcement, they’re something else criminals who have committed statutory rape against a minor.

This week alone, two cases have hit the news: Cops say one Texas teacher, Kathy Denise White  had sex with a 17-year-old, and Tennessee teacher Pamela Rogers Turner had sex with a 13-year-old boy.

They join at least three other recent cases: Florida teacher Debra LaFave (search), 24, is expected to plead insanity to charges  she had sex with a 14-year-old student , according to her lawyer; California teacher Sarah Bench-Salorio, 28, allegedly molested two boys when they were 12 and 14; and 33-year-old California teacher Rebecca Boicelli was arrested last month on statutory rape and related charges after DNA tests confirmed that a former student fathered her 2-year-old baby when he was 16.  More ..

Female Perpetration of Child Sexual Abuse: An Overview of the Problem – Moving Forward – Lisa Lipshires – July 1994

Female Perpetration of Child Sexual Abuse: An Overview of the Problem

Moving Forward Newsjournal, Vol.2, Number 6, July / August 1994, By Lisa Lipshires

Seven years ago, a client of Massachusetts psychologist Marcia Turner said something that shocked her. The woman, who had been sexually abused throughout her own childhood and was living in a house with other adults and their children, said, “The little three-year-old girl in my household is coming on to me, and wants me to have sex with her. I think I will, because I know that I will be gentle and kind to her, and it’s inevitable that she is going to be abused.”

Although Turner had previously counseled male sex offenders, she had never encountered a woman who wanted to sexually abuse a child. Alarmed, she consulted other therapists, but none had ever encountered — or even heard of — female sex offenders. Turner realized that “this is something we need to look at,” and decided to make female perpetrators of child sexual abuse the focus of her practice.

Betsy K., a survivor of sexual abuse by her father, realized five years ago that she had also been sexually abused by her mother. As she was confronting the abuse, other women in her area who had been sexually abused by their mothers were starting to deal openly with their experiences. “It was something that people were just barely beginning to talk about,” Betsy recalled. Nonetheless, she and the other women formed a weekly self-help group for women survivors of female-perpetrated sexual abuse.

Betsy K. and Marcia Turner are part of a small, growing number of people confronting the issue of female-perpetrated child sexual abuse. Many feel they are fighting an uphill battle against societal denial and cultural stereotypes of women and men.

Societal Denial

In her 1993 doctoral dissertation, “Female Sex Offenders: Societal Avoidance of Comprehending the Phenomenon of Women Who Sexually Abuse Children” (University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI), Boston psychologist Laurie Goldman analyzed the ways society minimizes the scope and impact of sexual abuse by women.

Goldman initially planned to conduct in-depth research of female perpetrators. To that end, she distributed 315 letters to therapists and clinics, took out an advertisement in a major newspaper, and contacted several clinicians who treated sex offenders. She also placed 10 poster advertisements in highly visible locations. Her eight-month search yielded only one woman who was willing to discuss what she had done. Goldman knew from reliable sources that female offenders were being treated, but clinic administrators insisted that no such women were under their care.

In addition, within 48 hours of having been hung, all of her posters had been removed. Unable to obtain subjects for her study, Goldman decided to focus on the societal denial that makes female perpetrators such an elusive population.

Goldman discovered that denial of female perpetration is woven into the very systems meant to protect children. She learned that one of her new female clients had previously disclosed that she had sexually abused a nephew, but the Massachusetts child protection agency had not referred the case to the Attorney General’s office. In fact, Goldman’s client subsequently admitted that she had abused two other children since her first disclosure.

This treatment of the problem by the State of Massachusetts is not unique.

In the State of Washington, for example, one human services professional reported that when an accused female offender was brought before a judge, the judge declared, “women don’t do things like this,” and dismissed the case. In another case, a New England prison warden told Goldman that she had only one woman in her system who had been convicted of child sexual abuse because “public sentiment did not allow for such charges to be brought to trial in her conservative state.”

This comes as no surprise to Gail Ryan, facilitator of the Kemp Center’s Perpetrator Prevention Project in Denver. She has found that female adolescent sex offenders “are much less likely than male adolescent offenders to be caught or charged.”

Iowa State University sociologist Craig Allen, who conducted a study Of 75 men and 65 women who had been convicted of sexually abusing a child, refers to this process as a form of societal “gate keeping.” By the time female offenders could be referred to a therapist for treatment, he writes in Women and Men Who Sexually Abuse Children: A Comparative Analysis (Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press, 1991), “only those women would be left whose behaviors were so deviant” that their abusiveness could not be denied “at any of the preceding ‘gates’in the system.” Allen’s gate keeping hypothesis could account for why female perpetrators appear so rarely in therapists’case studies and why, when they do, they are generally described as psychotic or otherwise severely disturbed.

Ruth Matthews, a St. Paul psychologist who has worked with 50 adolescent and 70 adult female sex offenders, says another major reason why adult female perpetrators are rarely seen in treatment is that many are mothers. In such cases, she says, dependent children are generally reluctant to turn in their mothers.

If children — whose disclosures still provide the primary means of reporting offenders — are being abused by mothers who are single parents or who carry out the abuse with male partners, disclosure would cause them to be removed from their homes and placed in foster care. By contrast, when there is an offending father and a non-offending mother, a child’s disclosure would not mean “as much of a loss,” says Matthews. “They still will have their home, they still will have a parent, and their family will stay intact.”

Prevalence of Abuse by Females

If children seldom disclose, and if female abusers are often winnowed out of investigations and court proceedings, how much female perpetration is actually going on? Because of the hidden nature of child sexual abuse and because of problems with the way in which child abuse data are collected, nobody can provide a definitive answer to this question.

There are two main sources of information on the extent of child sexual abuse: data gathered by state child protective agencies and retrospective studies that seek to determine the percentage of adults who were sexually abused as children.

Two retrospective studies of adult populations are frequently quoted by researchers and child advocates. The Los Angeles Times survey, conducted in 1985, found that seven percent of the abuse reported by male and female participants in the study was perpetrated by women. Sociologist Diana Russell’s 1978 San Francisco-based study revealed that four percent of the women who reported having been abused indicated that the perpetrators were female.

The Times survey and the Russell study were based on a random selection of participants. Other retrospective studies focusing on narrower populations have found much higher rates of female perpetration, although some of these findings have yet to be replicated. In a 1981 study, 60 percent of 412 male and 10 percent of 540 female undergraduate psychology students at the University of Washington who recalled childhood sexual contact with a post-pubescent person at least five years older than themselves said their abusers were female. (Fritz, G., Stoll, K., and Wagner, N. “A Comparison of Males and Females Who Were Sexually Molested as Children,” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 1981, vol. 7,54-59.)

In another study, doctors at a New Jersey medical clinic found that 11 out of 25 teenage males who revealed that they had been sexually molested named females (ages 16 to 36) as their assailants. These perpetrators were “usually acquaintances of the victims — most often a neighbor, baby-sitter, or other trusted adolescent or young adult.” (Johnson, R., and Shrier, D. “Past Sexual Victimization by Females of Male Patients in an Adolescent Medicine Clinic Population,” American Journal Of Psychiatry, 1987, vol. 144,650-662.)

Finally, a study of 582 college men found that up to 78 percent of those abused as children had been abused by females. ( Fromuth, M., and Burkhart, B. “Childhood Sexual Victimization Among College Men: Definitions and Methodological Issues,” Violence and Victim, 1987, vol. 2, no. 4, 241-253.)

Researchers do not know why some studies uncover a higher rate of female perpetration than others, but The National Resource Center on Child Sexual Abuse ( NRCCSA ) asserts that because of a lack of standardization in reporting and inconsistencies in research methods and definitions of sexual abuse, “the firm statistics everyone desires” on the prevalence of abuse “simply are not available.” ( NRCCSA News, May-June 1992, vol. 1, no. 1.)

The inconsistencies noted by the NRCCSA can be found in the other main source of data on child sexual abuse: yearly reports from the 50 states’child protective agencies. The American Humane Association which was responsible for gathering these data from 1973 through 1987, found that approximately 20 percent of substantiated cases of child sexual abuse during that time period had been perpetrated by females. (Information on perpetrator gender is not available for 1988-1992; data eventually will be available for 1993 and subsequent years.) However, not all states require the gender of perpetrators to be included in their reports. Thus, says John Fluke, Director of Research and Program Analysis for the American Humane Association, there are inherent difficulties in getting good information, given the fact that we’re working with 50 different systems of information development.”

Another difficulty, as University of New Hampshire sociologist David Finkelhor notes in Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory and Research (New York: The Free Press, 1984), is that the “child abuse that is mandated for reporting in most states is only child abuse committed by parents and other caretakers.” As a result, abuse perpetrated by children, adolescents, and unrelated adults or strangers is unlikely to appear in yearly reports; a sizeable proportion of sexual abuse committed by males and females is therefore generally not recorded.

Improvements are being made in this regard. Last year the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse, which has been collecting national data since 1988, began to ask states to include perpetrator gender in their reports.

Range of Abuse

The abuse that females perpetrate can range from subtle, non-contact forms such as exhibitionism and voyeurism to overt sexual touching and/or penetration. In his study of offenders, sociologist Craig Allen found that both genders engaged in a range of abusive behavior. Therapist Marcia Turner says that her clients have claimed to “digitally penetrate, orally stimulate, insert things into kids, and have kids do things to them like. .. stimulate their genitals.”

Other therapists, including those specializing in male survivors of sexual abuse, have noticed an apparent pattern in clients’ reports of female-perpetrated abuse. Minneapolis psychologist Peter Dimock has counseled 400 to 500 male survivors of sexual abuse since 1980. He found that, for the 25 percent who recall being abused by a female, most experienced the abuse as subtle or seductive. Very often, Dimock says, if the female abuser is in a parental or caretaking role, she will perpetrate the abuse “under the guise of caretaking, where it has involved putting medication on the child’s genitals, inserting suppositories or enemas,” or she will make an excuse to expose her body to the boy, “clearly with an intent to arouse, but, again, under the guise of normalized behavior.”

Nic Hunter, a psychologist from St. Paul, author of Abused Boys: The Neglected Victim of Sexual Abuse, and editor of The Sexually Abused Male, Volumes I and II (all from Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1990), has also found in his work with hundreds of male survivors that approximately 25
percent were sexually abused by females and that in general, the abuse was “very covert in that it was disguised as something other than a sexual contact.” Dimock adds that female abusers frequently treat their victims like romantic partners, taking them on “date-like outings.”

Not all survivors or victims report that sexual abuse by females was subtle or covert. Of the 93 women who perpetrated in Michigan therapist Bobbie Rosencrans’recent four-year study of survivors of maternal incest, 65 percent reported that their abuse had been violent. Karen K., a survivor of maternal incest from Washington State who edits the newsletter S.O.F.I.E.(Survivors of Female Incest Emerge!), has read nearly 500 letters from survivors in the past 18 months. She feels that “women are more creative and more brutal in their abuse.”

Abuse After effects

Therapist Bobbie Rosencrans’ research on 93 female and nine male survivors of maternal incest ( Rosencrans had originally planned to study female survivors only, but nine men asked to be included as well.) is the most comprehensive study to date of survivors of female perpetrators. Rosencrans found among her study participants many of the reactions shared by survivors of male-perpetrated abuse: depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and high rates of eating disorders and substance abuse. She also found, when she asked her participants what they would want the public to know about maternal incest, a nearly universal wish to tell society that “this really happens.”

Gender Identity Issues

One of the most common reactions to female-perpetrated abuse is shame about gender identity. Phyllis E, who was sexually abused by both her mother and her father, remembers feeling a deep disgust for her mother’s body — a disgust that carried over into a hatred of her own female self. “I couldn’t stand my own body for years,” she says. “I couldn’t understand how men could stand women’s bodies.”

Tom, a therapist and survivor of abuse by three females, including his mother, has also felt a deep confusion about his gender identity. Along with subjecting Tom to unnecessary enemas, masturbating him in the bathtub, and making him sleep in her bed and watch her dress, his mother perpetrated against him a type of behavior that Indiana therapist Christine Lawson refers to as “perversive abuse.” Perversive abuse, Lawson writes in “Mother-Son Sexual Abuse: Rare or Underreported? A Critique of the Research” (Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 17, no. 2) is abuse of a child’s sexuality and “may include behavior such as forcing the boy to wear female clothing … and generally discouraging the child’s identification with males.” Tom says that “until I was five, I hadn’t the foggiest notion that I wasn’t a girl.”

Psychologist Mic Hunter says that the societal belief that “when sexual contact takes place” between a male and female, “the male is responsible for it” can place an extra sense of shame and responsibility on boy victims of female perpetrators. There is also the cultural myth, exemplified by movies such as “Summer of ’42,” “Men Don’t Leave,” and “My Tutor,” that sexual contact between an adult female and a young boy is a desirable initiation into manhood. Hunter has witnessed this during training sessions at the offices of various district attorneys. Often, he says, “there will be a female attorney on staff who is trying to prosecute a female perpetrator [of a male victim], and the male attorneys will say, ‘Look, we’re not going to waste the taxpayers’ dollars on this. This is every man’s fantasy.'”

Rick S., a survivor of maternal incest as well as sexual abuse by a female nurse, confirms that he struggled to accept that what was done to him was inappropriate and wrong. “I adored my mother,” Rick says, “and she doted on me, especially in the early years.” When Rick got to high school, he says, “I felt like I was unfaithful to her if I thought of going out with a girl.”

He had “no idea that you were supposed to grow up and develop and learn.” He saw his peers growing up and finding age-appropriate dates, and wondered what they had that he didn’t.

Confronting Gender Stereotypes

A widespread societal belief that female-perpetrated sexual abuse is improbable — particularly if the abuser was one’s mother — has made it especially difficult for survivors of female abusers to disclose their experiences and has left them with perhaps an even deeper sense of isolation. Remarkably, though 81 percent of the women in Rosencrans’ study were currently in therapy, only three percent had revealed to their therapists that their mothers had abused them sexually.

Karen K. remembers believing for years that she was the only survivor of mother-daughter incest. “I felt completely isolated and alone with who my perpetrator was,” Karen says. In response to Rosencrans’ study (Safer Society Press, 1994), one woman wrote, “I’ve never met anyone who was sexually abused by their mother. I didn’t know that 93 other people existed.”

Betsy K. believes that the sexual abuse of daughters by mothers is even more taboo than the sexual abuse of sons. Between mothers and sons, Betsy says, “People would believe, probably, that there was some sort of sexual contact, though they might not look at it as abuse.” But in our homophobic culture, “females sexually abusing females — Oh God, nobody, nobody wants to believe that. I think it’s as hard to believe, or close to as hard to believe, as ritual abuse … It doesn’t get the attention it deserves.”

Moving Past Secrecy and Shame

It was liberating for Betsy, in a survivors’ march and rally several years ago, to carry a sign: “Mothers Can Be Abusers, Too.” She and other survivors of maternal incest glued photographs of their Mothers onto the sign, and Betsy held it up while she recounted the story of her mother’s abuse. Betsy spoke so loudly, one woman later told her, that she had heard her from nearly a quarter of a mile away and she had to stop and listen.

Months later, a stranger approached Betsy at a workshop and said she saw Betsy’s sign at the march and that it had really helped her to reveal, for the first time, that she had also been sexually abused by her mother. “It was very moving,” Betsy says. “I’ll never forget that. It speaks to survivors helping survivors … I think we can, as a community, really heal each other.”

Lisa Lipshires is a freelance writer and human services professional.

Suggested Reading

Allen, Craig (1991). Women and Men Who Sexually Abuse Children: A Comparative Analysis. Brandon, VT: The Safer Society Press.

Evert, Kathy (1987). When You’re Ready. A Woman’s Healing from Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse by Her Mother. Walnut Creek, CA: Launch Press.

Kelley, Susan J., et al. (1993). Sexual Abuse of Children in Day Care. Child Abuse & Neglect vol. 17,71-89.

Lawson, Christine (1993). Mother-Son Sexual Abuse: Rare or Under-reported? A Critique of the Research. Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 17, no. 2.

Middlebrook, Diane Wood (1991). Anne Sexton: A Biography. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. (Note: Anne Sexton’s daughter, Linda Gray Sexton, disclosed in Middlebrook’s biography that her mother had sexually abused her.)

Female Perpetration of Child Sexual Abuse: An Overview of the Problem – Moving Forward – Lisa Lipshires – July 1994.

WOMEN: The Forgotten Child Murderers – 03FEB01


Montreal, Quebec, by David MacRae, Feb. 3, 2001

Women who kill their children are given sympathy and sentenced to “treatment” while men who do the same thing are charged with murder and sentenced to life.

Perhaps it is not a coincidence that women are many times more likely to murder their offspring than men.

A hospital in Great Britain installed hidden cameras to survey children who they feared to be at risk of abuse by their parents. They found dozens of cases and made headlines about abuse by “parents” and “step-parents”. The Life Channel chronicled the story (this version was translated and ran on Canal Vie as well).

What all the commentators carefully hid was who these “parents” were: there was one grandmother, one father… and thirty-seven mothers. Judging from the references to “step-parents”, I suspect that the man wasn’t really a father either.

How did the hospital choose the people to watch? Every case involved previous children who had died in mysterious circumstances. To be more precise, 37 killer moms murdered 40 children. Total jail sentences imposed: 0, even though some of the women confessed when confronted afterwards.

About 1300 child murders took place in the US last year. About 500 perpetrators were non-parents, roughly divided between men and women. Of the rest, only 30 (!) were fathers. In other words, mothers were more than 25 times more likely to kill their progeny than fathers. Yet somehow, men are viewed as being more dangerous to their children than women.

In Canada, many crime statistics are presented in such a way as to hide female malevolence. As an example, we do not break down statistics on child murder by sex of the offender. Consequently, this information is not available here. However, there is no reason to assume that things are any different north of the border.

This favoured treatment of women is not limited to child murder. Rose Cece and Mary Taylor, a lesbian couple in Toronto, decided on a lark to kill a police officer. Had a man done so, he would have been convicted with first-degree murder almost without regard to the facts. If not, police associations across the country would have been outraged. In fact, Cece and Taylor were convicted of manslaughter and no one commented.

At least they went to jail. Women are often let off with suspended sentences. As the Ottawa Citizen said in one case, “husband-killer Lilian Getkate’s sentence of two years less a day at home is an insult to our sense of natural justice.” The murderer herself reacted by saying: “I was startled. I took someone’s life and I’m not going to jail. Of course I’m surprised by that.” Once again, the Crown did not appeal.

Getting away with murder

This reluctance to convict women murderers goes back a long way. In fact, it is the reason for the invention of the crime of infanticide at the turn of the last century. Juries refused to convict women of murdering their own children.

Or their parents, it would appear.

Lizzie Borden took an axe
Gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

What the ditty doesn’t mention is that the 1892 Boston jury let Lizzie off. One of the main reasons for this is that her judge, like the one in the Getkate case, practically directed the jury to acquit. Plus a change…

One difference between women who are committed to jail and those who are not appears to be familial relationships. Only two women have ever been convicted of first-degree murder in this country. Yvonne Johnson killed a man she barely knew. Sarabjit Kaur Minhas strangled her nephew. In other words, women are given greater latitude when they kill their husbands, parents or children. Of course, they always get some slack Cece and Taylor are proof enough of that.

The discrimination of the courts in favour of women is not limited to murder. It is true of all crimes. Officially, women commit 15% of serious crimes in Canada, almost certainly an understatement of the facts. Whatever the real number, they form approximately 1% of the people in our prisons. Texas statistics indicate that women are actually more likely to commit fraud than men. Despite this, men are ten times more likely to serve time for the offence.

There seems to be a fundamental refusal to admit that women are capable of committing crimes. When they do, we tend to downplay the act and to view her as the victim, not as the victimizer. A book has been written about the Johnson case. Its title is Stolen Life. Guess whose life the author feels was robbed. It isn’t the man she killed.

While feminism may be partially responsible for this, the answer appears to be more profound. Lizzy Borden’s parents died long before the appearance of this form of collective insanity. The reality is that people, in all societies, assume that the female of the species must be protected, even from the consequences of her own actions.

Whatever. The bottom line is that male misbehaviour, however you to define this word, is treated far more severely than equivalent female crimes.

Boy, 8, found dead; mom faces charge

Canadian Press, (various newspapers across Canada, including the Toronto Star ) Aug. 16, 2006.

ISLE LA MOTTE, Vt. A Montreal mother recovering from alleged self-inflicted wounds will be charged in the coming days with murdering her 8-year-old son, whose body was found in Lake Champlain, a Vermont state attorney said today.

I am going to prepare a charge of first-degree murder, Grand Isle States Attorney David Miller said in a telephone interview. More ..

WOMEN: The Forgotten Child Murderers – 03FEB01.

Women who sexually abuse children and youths

The Ultimate Taboo: Child Sexual abuse by women

The Sexual Abuse by Women of Children and Teenagers

Summary of UK TV programme – Panorama – BBC1 – 10 pm Monday, October 6th, 1997

Warning: This programme contains explicit descriptions of attacks and the emotional and physical damage they have caused, which some viewers may find distressing.

The sexual abuse of children by women was once thought to be so rare it could be ignored.

In this programme the victims tell a different story.


This was a vivid and horrific programme in which the victims of sexual abuse by women told disturbing stories of emotional and physical damage:

  • Rape and attempted murder of a 12 year old boy by a 19 year old girl
  • Rape and abuse of a 12 year old boy over a two year period by a 28 year old mother of four
  • Rape and abuse of boys by their mother
  • Rape and abuse of girls by their mother
  • Women taking a lead role in pornographic violence and abuse
  • Children abused by nuns
  • Children abused at playgroup
  • Boy abused by lesbians

It was acknowledged that the scale and nature of these attacks had been severely underestimated and there were examples of women using excessive force with implements such as chair legs and cutlery.

A surprising 86% of survivors of sexual abuse were not believed when they said the abuser was a woman.

Many myths were exposed, such as the one that women only sexually abused when coerced by men – they in fact played the lead part. Also the myth that women are incapable of cruelty – what was shown was beyond belief.

But despite the seriousness of these offences, women generally escaped custodial sentences.


The programme claimed that:

  • Women commit 25% of all child sexual abuse
  • 250,000 children in UK have been sexually abused by women

People find it difficult to believe.

The issue strikes at the core of what women perceive themselves to be:

  • The whole view of women is of nurturers, carers, protectors – people who do anything to look after children
  • The crime seems so unnatural it offends against all instincts, so society is reluctant to even associate women with sexual abuse
  • It’s easier to think that it’s men – men the enemy, somehow – but it can’t be women – it’s one thing women can’t do

Society excuses female abusers

What tends to happen is that the female sexual abuser is excused in some way.

  • “She must have been misguided”, or it was a “chronicled affair”. We wouldn’t have said that about a man. And what happens is that the sentences are more lenient.
  • The judges might even think “Well a woman really couldn’t have done this – it must have been a mistake”.
  • And they usually get probation or they walk free. A man doing that would be locked up.
  • their testimony shatters the myth that women only sexually abuse if coerced by men.

Women are seen as victims

Women are seen as victims rather than enemies or perpetrators of any abuse.

  • Women in our society have been portrayed as victims, but somewhere within their victimisation they have learned that to abuse children gave them a sense of power, control, agency, and therefore they use the abuse of children to gain those things.

Disbelief the biggest trauma

  • The biggest trauma for some victims is disbelief. A survey of 127 survivors by the children’s charity Kidscape showed 86% were not believed at first when they named a woman as their abuser.
  • The fact that we are not expecting women in our society to do this – not expecting that women our society do this actually has profound effects on the victims, often making the experience go on much longer than it would have done in other cases, but also making them feel more stigmatised, more different, more betrayed, more powerless.

More traumatic to be sexually abused by a woman

  • It was more traumatic to be sexually abused by a woman – children feel more betrayed, they feel very angry, they feel the woman should have cared for them, should have loved them instead of abusing them.

Violent and sadistic attacks

  • The violence that often accompanies the abuse is unexpected of a woman.
  • Victims often report excessive force equivalent to if not greater than that of a man.
  • Women are supposed to be the gentler sex, women are supposed to be incapable of cruelty in a sense.
  • Many of the abusers have been very sadistic – cruelty that is almost unimaginable.
  • Half the women in a recent survey of 50 convicted female sexual abusers said they derived sadistic pleasure from inflicting pain on victims.

Across the board

The research showed neither class nor age were barriers to their behaviour. We can’t make assumptions about the type of woman who will sexually abuse a child – sexual abuse is committed by:

  • Women of any age from young teenagers to grandmothers
  • Women from any class – from women who barely had a house to live in during their life to women with very large houses.
  • Women from any level of education – women who can barely read and write to women who’ve got degrees.
  • Female abusers acquire positions of trust
  • Some children aren’t just at risk from the people they live with; they are vulnerable targets when they leave their homes.
  • Out in the community female sexual abusers can manoeuvre with even more ease than men into positions of trust with authority over lost of children.

Eternal victims

  • Some of those abused become eternal victims and never recover from that.
  • Other children will mask their confusions and go into adulthood and never really be able to sustain relationships, or have very distorted relationships because of their enormous confusions.
  • And there are other children who will go on to hurt not only other children in their own childhood but in adulthood.

The need for more work

  • There’s very very little being done to look at the issue of female sexual abuse. We have no programmes in this country that are aimed at working with female sexual offenders specifically. Quite a lot of professionals are picking up women offenders now. What they’re not doing is having the resources to help them deal with these women offenders. It’s because so many professionals are now getting to pick up women offenders that we are now getting to realise some of the extent of the problem throughout the country.
  • Few abusers ever volunteer their guilt, and behind closed doors it is difficult to prove. A woman’s traditional role in the home as a mother often puts her above suspicion, and medical evidence is hard to obtain. But as more and more of women’s victims come forward and speak out they may just force us to face up to the ultimate taboo.

The Sexual Abuse by Women of Children and Teenagers

UK TV Programme – Panorama – BBC1 – 10 pm Monday 6th October 1997

Warning: This programme contains explicit descriptions of attacks and the emotional and physical damage they have caused, which some viewers may find distressing.

Narrator: The sexual abuse of children by women was once thought to be so rare it could be ignored. Today the victims tell a different story.

Woman: You knew when my mum was being really nice, you knew something was going to happen – you were going to get raped.

Man: Imagine your worst nightmare come true. It probably doesn’t even come close to it.

Narrator: Tonight Panorama reveals how the scale and nature of this sexual taboo has been severely underestimated.

Boy: We used to play football together, go for walks, we were just friends.


Cheryl’s friend was just a 12 year old schoolboy. She was 19. Walking with him one evening she committed such a serious act of sexual indecency she went to prison for it.

So I says to him, I says, we’ll walk the field way. So we started walking the field way and I sat down; he sat down. I pushed him back, pulled his trousers down, pulled mine down, then I had sexual intercourse with him … until someone was walking past with a dog.

And how long did this assault go on for?

About 15 minutes

Why did you do it in the first place?

‘Cause I were feeling aroused. He was crying, shouting for his mum, he wanted to go home.

And what did you think when you saw him crying?

At that time I couldn’t think straight, so I just carried on.

After she had raped the child, Cheryl realised that as a woman who had abused, she had broken one of society’s most serious taboos. She marched him to a railway bridge, believing there was only one option left to her.

Then I looked round to see if anything were coming.. such as transport, and there was nothing and I just pushed him over. I were thinking what have I done wrong?

Why did you push him?

Trying to frighten him – scare him so he wouldn’t tell what happened.

You could have killed him. Did you know that when you pushed him?


The boy survived his fall from the bridge. Cheryl was sentenced to 18 months for indecent assault and grievous bodily harm.

Sexual abuse by anyone is appalling, but when the perpetrator is a woman the crime seems so unnatural it offends against all instincts. It’s thought that 10% of the population are abused as children; it is hard to accept that some of their tormentors are women

Jacqui Saradjiam: (clinical psychologist)
I think people find it so difficult to see that women sexually abuse children because the whole view of women is of nurturers, carers, protectors – people who do anything to look after children – and they see the women as victims rather than enemies or perpetrators of any abuse.

Michelle Elliott: (Director – children’s charity Kidscape)
I think the issue strikes at the core of what we perceive ourselves as women to be. I think that it’s easier to think that it’s men – men the enemy, somehow – but it can’t be women – it’s one thing women can’t do. Women can be equal, we can be free, we can be in charge of companies, but we can’t sexually abuse children – That’s a load of rubbish.


Reaction to 28 year old Tina Purser’s relationship with another 12 year old boy demonstrates society’s reluctance to even associate women with sexual abuse. Purser, a trained nurse and mother of four secretly abused the 12 year old for two years.

When did she make her first sexual approach? How did she do it?

Apparently not long after he was 12. Her own children she’d sent round to the local park to play. Our son was in the house and she was just doing her housework and apparently while she was cleaning the bathroom she just turned around to our son and said how would you like this and actually abused him – she masturbated him on that first occasion, with him apparently leaning against the door. Afterwards he just cleaned himself up and she said “You’d better pop off and play with the children now and I’ll finish the housework and see you later.”

Do you think she targeted him?

Mother: Definitely. She went for that blonde gorgeous little boy. She used her son to get him. She used her son to get him over to play. She used her son to do the things that our son liked doing. If our son liked certain videos, she’d get her son to like them too.

On any level do you understand what she was getting out of a relationship with a 12 year old boy?

None whatsoever. If he’d have been a Chippendale, yes, but a 12 year old boy, no. I can only presume that she was getting from it sex, and didn’t have the problems of a grown up man and demands of a grown up man and a full blown relationship. This was just easy sex.

It took secret tape recordings by a private detective to convince the authorities that Tina Purser was abusing the boy, albeit he appeared to consent. The family were distressed the media reported the relationship as an affair.

Would you say what they were having was an affair?

No. She raped him. She raped him hundreds of times and robbed him of six years of his childhood. I had a gorgeous little boy and now I’ve got a very aggressive moody teenager.

Tina Purser was found guilty of two indecent assault charges, but the sentence was just two years probation and the judge said he didn’t see Purser as a future risk to children.

Society excuses female abusers

Michelle Elliott:
What tends to happen is that the female sexual abuser is excused in a way. “She must have been misguided”, or it was a “chronicled affair”. For example an affair with a 34 year old woman and a ten year old boy. I mean we wouldn’t have said that about a man. And what happens is that the sentences are more lenient. The judges might even think “Well a woman really couldn’t have done this – it must have been a mistake”. And they usually get probation or they walk free. A man doing that would be locked up.

That’s because men have long been seen as both capable of sexual abusing children and as being the main perpetrators. That still holds true; they are, but there is increasing evidence that far more women sexually abuse children than previously thought.

Michelle Elliott:
In the past the statistics have indicated that perhaps 2-5% of abusers are female. I think, based on the people who’ve contacted me, that that is probably much higher, maybe as high as 25%.


Chris Roberts, seen here in the 1980’s in a foster home, was removed from his own home because of physical abuse by his father. What the authorities didn’t even consider at the time was that his mother might be sexually abusing him.

There’s no way you can describe how unpleasant it was. You couldn’t put it into words. Imagine your worst nightmare come true; it probably doesn’t even come close to it. The earliest memory would be when I was probably about two and a half or three years old. Beatings, physical and sexual abuse, mental abuse, from both my mother and father. My mother would keep us away from playschool and my other two brothers from school and use us for her sexual perversions whilst our father was at work. When I was three I remember I was put into a children’s home.

But Chris’s abuse was not to end there. On the weekly visits they were allowed to the home, his parents continued the abuse.

The supervision order wasn’t enforced. We’d be taken into a play room and our father would ram a chair up against the door and the abuse would carry on – on the property of the children’s home.

What sort of abuses happened in the home?

At this point in time my mother had lost a set of twins … can I stop for a minute please? [breaks down].

Chris was told he was to blame for the twins death. His feelings of guilt helped ensure he would submit to yet more abuse.

Chris: There were many forms of abuse – physically, mentally and sexually. I had a mixture of mentally and sexually would be putting pornographic magazines into the children’s home where we’d be made to sit and look at the magazines whilst performing sexual acts with our mother, and our father joining in as well.

Approximately one in every hundred girls in the population and one in every hundred boys in the population are sexually abused in their childhood by a woman. And that’s a vast number of victims that we are avoiding if we are not looking at the issue of women as sexual abusers.

Victims trapped in the custody of their mothers as children, often only speak out after they’ve escaped. When they do, much of their testimony shatters the myth that women only sexually abuse if coerced by men.


Lucy Jenner had a single mother. Lucy took the place of a husband in the bed she had to share every night.

She would lock the door and after a certain time she would snap on the lights. Sometimes I tried to pretend to be asleep and it wouldn’t happen, but it didn’t make any difference. My mother would be behind me and I would be facing the wall. My mother would be around me and she pulled up a chair and she would say that she loved me and various other things and she would penetrate me vaginally and rectally with whatever she had.

There was lasting damage, causing pain and bleeding even today a legacy of the abuse she’d endured.

I think mainly it was the abuse that affected my bowel. I have a rectal prolapse which was a direct result of being penetrated with objects whatever when I was a child and was sexually abused by my mother.

Disbelief the biggest trauma

The biggest trauma for some victims though is disbelief. A survey of 127 survivors by the children’s charity Kidscape showed 86% were not believed at first when they named a woman as their abuser.

Jacqui Saradjiam:
The fact that we are not expecting women in our society to do this – not expecting that women our society do this actually has profound effects on the victims, often making the experience go on much longer than it would have done in other cases, but also making them feel more stigmatised, more different, more betrayed, more powerless.

Sandra & Lesley

For 20 years no one saw what Sandra and Lesley Wilson endured. their mother started to abuse them aged 5 and six, and continued even after they were married. When they threatened to go to the police she threatened to abuse their children. Sandra and Lesley’s mother was accompanied by their father in the abuse, but it was she who took the lead.

Mother always used to come in the bedroom and drag us out of bed. She never had any clothes on. You knew what was going to happen. I was made to do things. I was frightened. I was crying. I was told to shut up and I just had to get used to it.

You’d know when my mum was being really nice – you knew something was going to happen – you were going to get raped. It felt like it was every night – 2 or three times a week they both raped me.

Who started these sessions? Who was the dominant partner?

My mother. My mother always came to get me.

Sister: My dad was at work. I was cleaning the bath out and everything. All of a sudden my mum come in the bathroom and she pushed me flying, she grabbed my hair and dragged me into the bedroom and she made me do things you know to her satisfaction.

Sister: I couldn’t understand how your own mother… You’ve got no one else to turn to. If it’s your dad doing it at least you’ve got some chance – your mother to try and talk to if she’s a good mum. But when you’ve got your mother doing it as well what chance have you got? No one’s going to believe you. There was no escape.

Sandra and Lesley’s father John Wildman was eventually sent to prison for 22 years. Maureen Wildman died shortly after being charged. It’s her abuse the girls say hurt them most.

Michelle Elliott:
Those survivors who tell me they have been sexually abused by both a woman and a man always tell me that it was more traumatic to be sexually abused by a woman – they feel more betrayed, they feel very angry, they feel the woman should have cared for them, should have loved them instead of abusing them. For some reason they expected it almost of the man, but never of the woman.


The violence that often accompanies the abuse is also unexpected of a woman. Victims often report excessive force equivalent to if not greater than that of a man. This was the experience in a Newcastle taxi a year ago of a 15 year old girl. Her 33 year old aunt held her down and forced her to submit to oral sex by the driver as payment in kind. Angered by that and other sexual attacks by her aunt Paula Belisle, the victim has decided to speak out publicly about the abuse.

I was sitting watching the telly and I thought she was going into the toilet because she went out in the passage, She came back in and she had this chair leg cause it was on top of the electrical rad and then she just come over on the settee and put her hand over me mouth and pulling me pants down had her legs over my legs and she’s got like big fat legs, you know what I mean, well really really tight on my legs and I couldn’t move. She had a hand on me shoulder and a hand on me mouth and everything – just one hand though, and she was shoving the chair leg up us really really hard and I couldn’t hardly scream because she had her hand over me mouth. It was very painful, it was like I was having a bairn [baby]. And I was just crying – I was really upset I didn’t want me own aunty to do it to us. I thought men were animals, but women are just as bad – especially my own aunty doing that. I hate her. If I had the chance I’d kill her. I can’t stand her.

Paula Belisle is now on probation. Louise says she has since threatened to kill her for going to the police.

Michelle Elliott:
Women are supposed to be the gentler sex, women are supposed to be incapable of cruelty in a sense, and I would like as a woman to believe that. Unfortunately my experience with the survivors tells me that many of their abusers have been very sadistic to them. Cruelty that is almost unimaginable South Wales

In the early hours of one morning in South Wales last year the authorities drew up in a quiet street to a neat looking terrace house, looking to arrest a male abuser. Nothing prepared them for what they found. Child Protection Officers were to stumble on a den of professional paedophiles, but a den in which the mother was the prime abuser.

Margaret Harris: (South Wales Probation)
It had all the appearances of a normal sort of terrace house from the outside, in a very ordinary community – a very proud community. And as you went in the front door it changed dramatically. The house was full of rubble and rubbish from floor to ceiling. The walls had been taken away right through to the point that you could see bare wires hanging down as though the house was still under construction. It gave the appearance of a house that was just designed really to completely disorientate the children. In the room where the family actually lived – that was where they videoing the children – they used two different cameras. The room where the computer was kept was full of rubbish and yet in this corner in a particular corner which had been sectioned off from the rest of the room was the most sophisticated equipment that you could imagine. There was a kitchen area where in the larder there were videos – pornographic videos. Hardly any food, just videos upon videos upon videos. We also then found under the floorboards home-made videos of the abuse of the children. They did what would almost be construed as a professional video, which we assumed would be for selling.

The husband had filmed the videos, but his wife did the abusing. She took a lead role, sometimes reading from scripts, acting out scenes. Most of them involved her daughter videoed between the ages of eight and thirteen.

Margaret Harris:
The older child was naked. Mother was naked. They strung up the older child and tied her, gagged her and string her up from a hook in the ceiling and beat her something like 100 times in about four minutes. They then laid her on the bed and further abused her. All the time mother was doing this, father was videoing the actual abuse. At the end of it all, at one point when the child was lying on the bed almost unconscious, mother and father sat on the edge of the bed and had a cup of tea together. I think that portrays very graphically the awful nature of this. To give it the name sexual abuse belies what actually happened in that house. It was torture. It was the most abhorrent torture I have ever seen.

The mother used the Internet to feed her fantasies. Links to the North of England and the United States were stark evidence of leading female involvement in the sort of network of abusers normally associated with men. The father was taken away and jailed for life. The mother got a lesser 15 year sentence. Without the exceptional video evidence the authorities say because she was a woman she may not have been implicated at all.

Margaret Harris:
Often when children are trying to tell us what’s happening to them, we are dependent on their stories and I do wonder with this child, if we hadn’t found the videos, and this child had simply told us what had happened it would have been beyond belief, and I do worry that no on would in fact have believed her. And I wonder therefore how many other children has this happened to, where they’ve either been too afraid to tell or if they have tried to tell they felt they weren’t being believed and have held back. Because what we know we know from the videos. The children still haven’t talked i n full about the horrors that they encountered.

Half the women in a recent survey of 50 convicted female sexual abusers said they derived sadistic pleasure from inflicting pain on victims. The research showed neither class nor age were barriers to their behaviour.

Jacqui Saradjiam:
In my research I’ve come across women of any age from young teenagers to grandmothers, from any class – from women who barely had a house to live in during their life to women with very large houses. And from any level of education – women who can barely read and write to women who’ve got degrees. We can’t make assumptions about the type of woman who will sexually abuse a child.

Children’s home

More than 40 people are now alleging abuse including sexual abuse at this former children’s home in Aberdeen. The orphanage was run by the Poor Sisters of Nazareth. The complaints the police are now investigating were until recently dismissed as impossible. They range over a period of 30 years in which individual nuns are alleged to have abused.

I was about 7 or 8 at the time and she was in charge of our group, and just one day out of the blue she came along and asked me would I like to learn the time. And I just said yes, I’d like to learn the time. She told me that her watch was inside her breasts underneath her cassock which they used to wear. So I put my hand in – obviously I was fondling her breasts to look for the watch and I found it and while I was doing that- pulling the watch out – she would put her hand next to my penis and she would just gently squeeze it and that would get me excited. I could tell she was
getting excited cause her face was pure red an d her speech was pretty excited speech.

This sort of incident happened on several occasions but the boy felt powerless.

I knew it was wrong to do it, but I just did it because I had to do it or I got punished.

Female abusers acquire positions of trust

Some children aren’t just at risk from the people they live with; they are vulnerable targets when they leave their homes. Out in the community female sexual abusers can manoeuvre with even more ease than men into positions of trust with authority over lost of children.

Dawn Read and Christopher Lilley

Dawn Read and Christopher Lilley worked together as qualified teachers at a nursery in Newcastle. About 120 two to four year olds passed through their classes. Their mothers suspected nothing.

I really liked her. She just came across really as a nice person, always laughing, smiling and wanting to talk to you, and just made us feel at ease.

It took two years for trusting parents to find out that their children were being repeatedly sexually abused at the nursery. Lilley and Read were never tried in court, making the parents determined to stand up in public and draw attention to the abuse.

My daughter was sitting at the lunch table and said she didn’t want her lunch, so Dawn got a knife and fork and took my daughter to the toilet which was in the classroom and sat her on the floor and inserted the knife and fork into her vagina. Chris was there and they were both laughing.
What did your daughter tell you about that, about how she felt?

Well she said it hurt and there was blood and that they had to get a towel when she got washed, and the towel had blood on. But they seem to have done it a few times.

This child was one of more than 20 others who went on to tell their mothers what Dawn Read had done to them. At first they couldn’t grasp what they were hearing.

I’m angry with her. I can’t understand where she was coming from when she was doing this to the children. I can’t believe, as a mother I trusted her and I can’t believe that a woman would let people trust her and then go out and misuse that trust.

Dawn Read and Christopher Lilley persistently misused parents trust at the nursery and at other addresses in Newcastle.

What were they asking you to do?

Pull my pants down. If I had a dress, lift my dress up.

Did anyone take any photographs of you?

Yeah, there was a camera man there.

Tell me about that

He was just like taking pictures when they were being nasty to her and everything. I was like crying and just a lot of upset like. Screaming and saying I wanted to go back to the nursery and me mam and everything. And they wouldn’t take any notice and they’d be laughing at me.

When you had to join in with them, what did you have to do?

I can remember when Chris put his privates into mine.

And what was Dawn doing while Chris was doing this?

Looking at the other children, being rude to the other children.

She was being rude to the other children? What was she doing to the other children?

Making them lift their dresses and take their clothes off

Medically there was tearing of the tissues, bleeding trauma, extensive damage to the hymen. She has since underwent STD tests for sexually transmitted diseases. She has also had an HIV test.

Dawn Reed and Christopher Lilley were never brought to justice because the judge thought the child witnesses too young to be heard in court. There was an outcry on behalf of the children. The parents formed a protest group to support each other and publicise fully Reed and Lilley’s abuse. Some children are still showing signs of trauma.

She was always trying to make play with herself and I used to think that’s just what children do. I did ask the health visitor a couple of times and she said “She’s just exploring her own body and a lot of children do this”. But as she started to get older it didn’t just settle with her. I’ve had a lot of counselling about it because I’ve got a fear of her growing up to being an abuser herself. What the therapist said was that a child who comes from a loving home who is being abused doesn’t necessarily go on to be an abuser. But that’s not to say it can’t happen.

Therapy for abused children

The Sexual Abuse Child Consultancy Service is one of the few organisations attempting to break this cycle. In specially designed rooms long term play therapy helps children explore feelings and relationships. Half the children who pass through here have been abused by a woman – like this 10 year old boy.

His abusers were involved in a lesbian relationship and he was also abused by men too, so actually he’s quite a confused little boy, which is shown very often in his play where he doesn’t really know whether he’s a woman or whether he’s a man.

[shots of boy who has made a montage of a pretty girl with lots of diamonds and an engagement ring]

He was out of control. Sometimes he’d be physically violent and sometimes that would develop then into spitting, sometimes weeing in a playroom, sometimes weeing over the therapist. He was also highly eroticised, both with adults and with the other children, which meant that there would be a lot of sexual wriggling – he would get his penis out and wave it around – that kind of sexualised stuff, and trying to do very sexy kisses with the other children and with staff.

[shots of boy hugging with baby doll, saying he had a baby in the night, and then kissing it on the mouth]

He understands about nice kissing and safe kissing, but when he was holding the baby clearly the kissing started to get very unsafe. He had looked to me to make sure that I had understood that the kissing was unsafe. So an issue for him is unsafe kissing with babies – which of course was his experience.

Some of them become eternal victims and never recover from that. Other children like this little boy will mask their confusions and go into adulthood and never really be able to sustain relationships or have very distorted relationships because of their enormous confusions. And there are other children who will go on to hurt not only other children in their own childhood but in adulthood.

250,000 children abused by women

It’s thought more than 250,000 people in this country have been abused as children by women. While not everyone who has been harmed goes on to abuse, it is thought about 5% do. So what is it that makes them do it and others not?

Women in our society have been portrayed as victims. And yes I’m not disputing that nearly all women who sexually abuse children were in my research were themselves very victimised, but somewhere within their victimisation they learned that to abuse children gave them a sense of power, control, agency, that they’d not had any other in their life. And therefore they used the abuse of children to gain those things.


The natural compulsion of a mother to love and protect her child can be destroyed by years of abuse. One such woman who went on to abuse claims she saw her baby as a mere object.

I was about 22, I’d just divorced my husband. My sons – one was two and the other was a babe in arms – and the eldest son, I changed his nappy and masturbated him – once. I felt sick at what I was doing. I felt angry at what I was doing. I didn’t do it for pleasure, it was more for anger for what their dad had done to me. It was a day when I had just finished decorating the bedroom with my eldest brother. He had sexually abused me and I was so angry at what he had done that the anger came out by masturbating my son.

What effect has what you did consequently had on your sons?

Both my sons are sexual abusers. My eldest son is in prison now for what he’s done.

What has he done?

Sexually abused a nine year old boy.

Do you feel responsible for the way he’s turned out?


Why’s that?

Because if I hadn’t done what I’d done to him he wouldn’t be like he is now.

Zoe was jailed for four years on three counts of indecent assault. While she was in prison she was ostracised but not treated. Now she’s back in the community and still considered a risk to children.

Concluding comments

There’s very very little being done to look at the issue of female sexual abuse. We have no programmes in this country that are aimed at working with female sexual offenders specifically. Quite a lot of professionals are picking up women offenders now. What they’re not doing is having the resources to help them deal with these women offenders. It’s because so many professionals are now getting to pick up women offenders that we are now getting to realise some of the extent of the problem throughout the country.

Few abusers ever volunteer their guilt, and behind closed doors it is difficult to prove. A woman’s traditional role in the home as a mother often puts her above suspicion, and medical evidence is hard to obtain. But as more and more of women’s victims come forward and speak out they may just force us to face up to the ultimate taboo.

Sexual Abuse by Women of Children and Teenagers – Documentary BBC – 06OCT97.