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Female 'Teacher of the Year' charged with child rape


Does the justice system treat women differently?

Anecdotally, it seems female teachers convicted of having sex with a student fare better in court than their male counterparts.

Darcy M. Smith (Image from KIRO-TV)

That theory may be tested near Seattle, where 41-year-old Darcy M. Smith faces three charges of child rape for having sex with a student she invited to live in her home.

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KIRO-TV reports the sixth-grade teacher in SeaTac, Washington, showered the boy with gifts after he broke his collarbone when he was 12. She drove him to the hospital and the boy eventually was allowed to live with her instead of his parents.

In 2008, the boy turned 14 and said Smith began sexually abusing him, often after Smith drank wine and her husband and other children had gone to bed.

The abuse continued until the boy moved out of the home at age 18, the boy alleged in court documents.

In 2012, while the teen still lived in the home, Smith was named the area's "Teacher of the Year."

The young man, now 19, first reported the abuse to police in May. Smith was quickly put on paid leave by the school, but parents were not informed of the accusations until recently.

A 2013 New York Times article suggests female sex offenders are often "overlooked" because male victims are less likely to report an incident.

Researchers in 1988 concluded police officers and social workers were "more likely to minimize reports of child sexual abuse when the alleged perpetrator was female. Even when the abuse was substantiated, the professionals participating in the study considered it less appropriate to register the incident as a case of child sexual abuse if the perpetrator was female."

Treating women differently is human nature, I think, but that doesn't do a serious crime justice.

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