Susan Duursma was a 34-year-old teacher at a middle school in Bismarck, until she had sex with a ninth-grade student who was 15 at the time. She confessed and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. But unbelievably, the court decided she didn’t have to register as a sex offender.
Now another educator – this time Sara Joy Wurgler, a “paraprofessional” in the Fargo school system – has pled guilty to “misdemeanor deprivation of a minor” after showing a 16-year-old student naked pictures of herself.
She, also, will not have to register as a sex offender:
Wurgler was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years of probation.
She’s also required to avoid contact with the victim for a year as a condition of her probation.
Prosecutors said Wurgler showed the 16-year-old boy pictures during algebra class of herself nude from the waist up on her iPhone, and fully nude getting out of the shower.
Can anyone imagine a thirtysomething male teacher, after having sex with a teen student and/or showing that student naked pictures of himself, getting such light sentences? Not to mention avoiding the lifetime sentence of a sex offender registry requirement?
I’ve been a critic of those registries as a matter of public policy, but if they are to be the law can we at least have the law applied equally?
This double standard in sex abuse cases has become a national issue even as the number of females involved in abuse cases has risen sharply. “According to the Center for Sex Offender Management, a Department of Justice project, in 1994, less than 1% of incarcerated rape and sexual assault offenders were females, or fewer than 800,” reported USA Today in 2013. “By 2006, however, the FBI reported that females accounted for nearly 10% of sex crimes. And studies indicate that women commit approximately 20% of sex offenses against children.”
As the article indicates, we have a major problem with sex abuse of males going under reported. Do you suppose at least part of the problem might be the light sentences female perpetrators of sex abuse against males receive from the courts? A status quo which seems rooted in the wink-wink, nod-nod reaction many have to these cases?
After all, aren’t we supposed to believe that it’s every teen boys dream to have sex with an attractive teacher? I guess these victims should be thankful for the opportunity, or something.
Can you imagine telling a female minor that she should be thankful her male teacher had sex with her?
Of course, studies indicate that this sort of sexual abuse increases the likelihood of suicide significantly in males. Which is troubling, since males already already make up 79 percent of suicides.
But who cares, right? It’s just men. If society teaches us anything, it’s that when there’s an issue involving females it’s a crisis. When there’s an issue involving men, the guys need to just suck it up and quit being babies.