When a female Spanish teacher from a Catholic high school in Madison Heights, Michigan was sentenced in Oakland County for having a sexual relationship with a male student, letters from the accused friends and family poured in asking for leniency.
Kathryn Ronk, 30, of Birmingham, Michigan plead guilty in February to third-degree criminal sexual conduct according to CBSNEWS. She had been facing five counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct. She was sentenced to 6-15 years in prison.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the Oakland County Circuit Judge Nanci Grant had opted for prison time because the student was 15 years old. When the letter came in asking for leniency, the Judge said none made any mention of the boy.
“You are dealing with children that are still developing emotionally. To have this continuing double standard is unacceptable. The law does not recognize a double standard, the law is clearly on point in terms that these children are developing human beings. This was a person in position with power and influence over him.”
More Double Standards?
In an article by USAToday, we see the more of the double standard Judge Grant was referring to in the Ronk case.
According to USAToday, after a 27-year-old Catholic school teacher was accused of raping a 14-year-old boy, the following comments were left:
- “Boy, did I go to the wrong schools!”
- “I wish I had just ONE teacher like this!!!”
- “I wish it happened to me when I was a teen in grade school.”
One Florida teacher who had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old was sentenced to house arrest for 3 years, plus 7 years of probation.
Another teacher from New York who had sexual encounters with two underage boys was sentenced to 21 months in prison.
What Does The Law Say?
In truth the law does not distinguish between female teachers versus male teachers. Here is what the law says about criminal sexual conduct. You will find what each degree means and what the maximum penalty is.
First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
When there was sexual penetration and at least one of the following,
- The victim is under the age of 13
- If the victim is between the ages of 14 and 16 one the following 3 must be present as well
- The assailant (the person being charged with the sexual conduct) must be in a place of authority over the victim.
- The victim is related by blood or affinity to the victim.
- Lastly, if the victim is a member of the same household as the assailant.
- Happens when another felony has been given
- The assailant has been aided by another individual, as long as one of the following is true.
- The victim is incapable. This could mean mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
- The assailant applied force of coercion.
- When there are weapons involved.
- When the use of force or coercion and there is a result of personal injury. Personal injury includes, but is not limited to pregnancy, disease, chronic pain and metal anguish.
- There is a result of personal injury in addition to victim incapacity.
- Lastly, the victim in incapacitated and one of the following must be present:
- The victim is related by blood of marriage to the assailant.
- The assailant is in position of authority over the victim.”
- If convicted with first degree criminal sexual conduct, the maximum penalty is life in prison.
Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
Intentional touching for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of intimate parts or clothing covering intimate parts. The maximum penalty is 15 years.
Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
There has been sexual penetration. The victim is 13, 14, 15 years old and force or coercion was used or the victim was incapacitated. The maximum penalty is 15 years in prison.
Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
There has been sexual contact and
- Force or coercion
- Victim incapacity
- The defendant is employed by the department of corrections and the victim is incarcerated.
The maximum penalty is 2 years in prison and/or a $500.00 fine.
For more information about Criminal Sexual Conduct, please see, The Truth About Criminal Sexual Assault.
What Do You Think?
Is there a double standard concerning female teachers and male students? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.