BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A former Bismarck middle school teacher who admitted she had sex with a ninth-grader will spend 60 days in prison.
South Central District Court Judge Bruce Romanick has ruled that 35-year-old Susan Duursma won’t have to register as a sex offender.
It’s hard to believe that a 35-year-old man having sex with a 15-year-old, ninth-grade student would get the same sort of lenient statement.
I think we’ve gone a little overboard with sex offender laws – registering as sex offenders people who most of us wouldn’t consider, you know, sex offenders (good article on that here) – but I feel like sex offender registries were designed for adults who have sex with children. Which is to say, I think criminals like Susan Duursma are exactly the sort of people who should be on sex offender registries.
She is an adult. She had sex with a child, and not just any child, but a student at a school where she was a teacher.
That’s not ok behavior, but our society seems to have a double standard in these cases. Men who molest girls are never given any slack, and rightfully so. But adult women who have sex with underage boys?
That prompts a lot of winking and nodding, especially if the female adult is physically attractive, as though that sort of thing is ok.