Last year Susan Duursma, a former middle school teacher in Bismarck, was found guilty of having sex with one of her 15 year-old students. Her sentence? She got 60 days in jail for felony child abuse after initially facing three counts of corrupting a minor and doesn’t have to register as a sex offender.
Earlier this year Sara Joy Wurgler, a “paraprofessional” in the Fargo school system, pled guilty to showing nude pictures of herself to a 16 year old student. She got 30 days in jail on a misdemeanor charge and she also doesn’t have to register as a sex offender.
This week former Mandan school teacher Amanda Kolosky plead guilty to having sex with a 17 year old student. Her sentence? A one year suspended sentence, two years of probation, and she doesn’t have to register as a sex offender.
Now contrast those cases with how a male teacher is treated when accused of sexual misconduct with a student.
Aaron Knodel was charged with 5 felony counts, and potentially 35 years in prison, for allegedly having sexual contact with a 17 year old student in 2009. He almost certainly would have had to register as a sex offender once released from prison.
Knodel was ultimately acquitted of some of the charges (and the rest were dismissed after some problems with the jury), but that wasn’t for want of the state trying to put him in prison. The case was prosecuted vigorously, and even after he was unanimously acquitted on 3 of 5 charges (11 of 12 jurors voted to acquit on the last two, but one held out then had a meltdown), the prosecution initially objected to the dismissal of the final two charges.
So, to sum up, female teacher has sex with a 15 year old student and gets 30 days in jail.
Female teacher has sex with 17 year old student and gets zero day in jail.
Female school paraprofessional shows naked pictures of herself to a 16 year old student and gets 30 days in jail.
Male teacher allegedly has sex with a 17 year old student and faces 35 years in prison.
Tell me there’s not a double standard.