Crime statistics unequivocally support the fact that men are far more likely than women to be sexual predators and commit crimes of a sexual nature against either children or women. Being in a position of power is always the number one way any predator is able to solicit their victims, and abuse them, either by force or through coercion. Because men tend to exert said power far more often than women, through intimidation or violence, they are more likely to offend, and more likely to get caught, all the while garnering media attention for their terrible offenses.
Having said that, there are a subsection of women that are equally as capable of predatory sexual behavior, and they use their own position of power to prey on the innocent. The vast majority of these women find the perfect occupation to build trust with a potential victim, and then take advantage of it; the vast majority of these women are teachers.
In the United States alone, there are 200 reported cases of inappropriate conduct between teachers and students every year, and while the media may sensationalize the female-teacher relationship to a greater degree than the male one, the fact remains, the most shocking cases of teachers who had inappropriate relationships with their students all seemingly remain women. This begs the question. Are male teachers as likely to offend, but don’t get caught as often because their victims are less willing to come forward, or are women simply more likely predators in an educational setting? What’s even more shocking? The fact that many of these female teachers, even after being caught, believed they were legitimately engaged in a relationship with their students and did nothing wrong. Here are the most shocking cases of predatory teachers who slept with their students.
5 Christopher Kloman
To be fair, and to prove that not all teachers charged with having inappropriate sexual relationships with their students are female, we’ll start this list with a man; the reprehensible Christopher Kloman. Kloman was a teacher at an elite prep school in Virginia where he systematically molested female students in the 1960s. The girls were all between the ages of 12 and 14 at the time of the abuse. Kloman’s crimes went unreported for decades until one of his victims, who was by then in her 50s, actually came face to face with him at her son’s school. The fear that the predator may still be abusing other young females made her so distraught she finally broke her silence. After the allegations were reported to police, a lengthy investigation followed. The disgraced teacher was brought to trial, and Kloman, who the victims’ attorney called “an unmitigated predator” was found guilty and sentenced to 43 years in prison, where, at age 74, he will certainly die.
4 Jennifer Rice
Jennifer Rice was a substitute teacher at McKinley Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington. Though her job description would have involved caring for and teaching the children under her tutelage, it most definitely did not include becoming obsessed with, and beginning an inappropriate relationship with an 11-year-old boy in her class. The fixation Rice had on the boy led to the pair exchanging illicit emails, going on dates to the movies, and ultimately, sexual assault. Rice was so obsessed that the boy’s father became suspicious enough to not only warn his son to stay away from her, but to even contact the police concerning Rice’s intentions with his son. But none of this deterred Rice, and in August of 2007 she kidnapped the boy after she left a party in his East Tacoma neighborhood. The pair was apparently headed for an amusement park in Idaho. Along the way they stopped at a rest area, napped and then had sex. Once the boy was reported missing, Rice became the number one suspect, and finally retuned him after police warned her an Amber Alert would be issued with information concerning her and her vehicle. After Rice was arrested it was discovered that she had also sexually assaulted the boy’s 15-year-old brother. Rice was found guilty of a host of depraved acts and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in 2009.
3 Hendrika Shaskey
Aaron Gilmore was an 11-year-old boy from New Zealand when his 35-year-old teacher Hendrika Shaskey began her nearly decade long abuse of him. Because he wasn’t close to his own mother, Shaskey saw an opportunity to befriend the boy and began to invite him to her home to hang out with her own children. Gilmore enjoyed the initial affection he received, as he lacked it at home, and saw his teacher as a ‘second mother.’ Soon, however, the relationship, and Shaskey’s motivations turned far more insidious.
After about a year of friendship with the boy, Shaskey drove him to a deserted parking lot and molested him for the first time. The abuse continued for five years, in no small part because of the way Shaskey manipulated Gilmore into believing it was merely ‘motherly affection.’ During the period of abuse Gilmore often stayed overnight at Shaskey’s home, and even went on vacation with her. Gilmore was finally able to stop the abuse when he moved to Australia when he was 18. Although it took years for Gilmore to finally expose the abuse he suffered at the hands of Hendrika Shaskey, she was ultimately tried and convicted to 10 years in prison.
2 Leah Shipman
It’s a strange legal system when a clearly delusional woman can fall in love with a 15- year-old student of hers, carry out an illicit relationship with him and then, after being arrested on charges of statutory rape and taking indecent liberties with the child, find a legal loophole to not only escape prosecution, but marry him as well.
Leah Shipman was a teacher at Wilmington High School in North Carolina when she initiated a sexual relationship with 15-year-old Johnny Ray Ison. In a shocking twist, and an ingenious way to avoid prosecution, two years after Shipman was arrested she married Johnny Ray. The nuptials took place only nine days after Shipman’s divorce from her previous husband of 19 years. Perhaps even more disturbing? The parents of the still under aged boy consented to the marriage.
By getting married, Shipman could invoke the Sixth Amendment, which prevents a defendant’s spouse from having to testify against them in a court of law. Without any testimony from the victim turned-husband, Shipman was merely charged with interfering with the investigation, and sentenced to 30 days in prison, a year of probation, and $345 in restitution costs. The only ‘justice’; Leah Shipman was barred from teaching for life. Talk about exploiting a legal loophole.
1 Mary Kay Letourneau
By far the most sensationalized tale of a teacher-student relationship, Mary Kay Letourneau was a media darling for all the wrong reasons for years. Her story even inspired the film "All American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story." Letourneau’s story is not just that of a sexual predator in a position of authority, but a truly disgusting indictment of the media industry as a whole. But that’s a topic for another debate.
Letourneau was a second-grade teacher at Shorewood Elementary School in Burien, Washington when she initially taught Vili Fualaau. A few years later, when Letourneau started teaching grade six at the school, Fualaau was once again her student. By 1996, the relationship she had initiated with the 12-year-old Fualaau went from friendship, to flirtation and ultimately, sex. Letourneau was arrested in 1997 after a member of her family complained, and was convicted of two counts of second-degree child rape. She was sentenced to six months and as part of a plea bargain to reduce her sentence she agreed to have no contact with Fualaau. The problem was by then she was already pregnant with Fualaau’s child.
Clearly not used to rules, whether in the classroom or a court of law, a mere two weeks after being released from prison, Letourneau was found with Fualaau in her car, resulting in a second pregnancy for the pair. This time, the court was less lenient with her; Letourneau was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in state prison. Prison wasn’t all that bad for Mary Kay however, she managed to give birth to her and Fualaau’s second child, and, in 1998, the two budding media stars co-authored a book, Only One Crime, Love, which was published in France.
Mary Kay Letourneau was finally released from prison in 2004, and Vili Fualaau, then age 21, immediately filed a motion in court requesting a reversal of the couple's no-contact order, which was granted a few days later. Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau were married in 2005, and, like all sensational media couples, the pair granted Entertainment Tonight exclusive access to film the event. Fualaau has maintained that he is “not a victim… not ashamed of being in love with Mary Kay” and for her part Mary Kay has said that her relationship with Vili is "eternal and endless." All of which begs the question. What’s more shocking, the fact that Mary Kay Letourneau broke her oath as a teacher, broke the law numerous times, and still managed to marry her ‘victim,’ all while the media made movies about her and bought the rights to film her wedding, or the fact that the couple apparently believe love at first sight can happen while one of them is a child in the second grade? Either way you see this case, the word shocking doesn’t nearly do it justice.