A New Smyrna Beach middle school teacher has accepted a plea deal for lewd and lascivious battery and the transmission of harmful material to minors by electronic means. Lewd and lascivious battery is a crime that is set aside for consensual sex acts with a child. In most states, this is known as statutory rape. The teacher, Stephanie Peterson, was also charged for distributed sexual photos of herself to the boy.
What is Lewd or Lascivious Battery?
Lewd or lascivious battery is simply unforced sexual contact with a child between the ages of 12 and 15. It is described in the Florida Statute 800.04 (4). In addition, lewd or lascivious battery in Florida is what is known as a “strict liability” crime. That means that it doesn’t matter whether or not the individual who committed the crime was aware of the victim’s age when the sexual conduct occurred. This essentially eliminates one of the most commonly raised defenses that the individual was unaware of the age of the child.
By accepting a plea of lewd and lascivious battery, Peterson will now face several very stiff penalties. Since lewd and lascivious battery is a second-degree felony, Peterson could face up to 15 years in prison. In addition, she could also face 15 years of sex offender probation and she will be required to register as a sex offender.
Female Teachers and Sexual Abuse
When a male teacher has sex with a female student, people readily see the male teacher as a sexual predator. The conversation, however, is much different when it involves a female teacher abusing a male student. The response of men, for instance, is generally something along the lines of: “Where were these teachers when I was in school?”
That is an awfully good question. This does seem to be a phenomenon that saturates media headlines lightly. Have there always been female teachers who slept with male students, or is there something new in the cultural ethers that is giving rise to an epidemic?
Certainly, this phenomenon has been portrayed in TV dramas and movies for decades. Recently, the show Riverdale, which is a dark spin on the Archie comics, features Archie having an affair with a pretty young teacher. While that makes for great drama, it is a serious crime with serious consequences and those consequences are not often explored in movies or television.
According to one study, women are responsible for 19% of child sex crimes. But that number may be higher than we believe.
According to one study done on female sexual abusers, these women are different than typical predatory pedophiles—at least insofar as that they do not enter their professions to gain access to children. In fact, they may not necessarily have any sexual interest in children. But due to a lack of intimacy in their own lives, they cross a line that cannot be crossed and while media sensationalism and TV dramatizations paint a lurid picture of forbidden fruit, we don’t necessarily understand the impact these encounters have on their victims and that does need to be talked about.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
The Skier Law Firm P.A. helps those charged with crimes under Florida law. Give us a call or talk to us online and we can begin discussing your options.