Friday, May 29, 2009

Teen boys twice victimized: when their statutory rapists falsely accuse them of rape

"Binkley [the accused teacher] said there had been an unfair rush to judgment against her because of her profession." Welcome to our world, Ms. Binkley. Usually with rape accusations, there is an unfair rush to judgment against men and boys -- because of their gender.

Comment: It is not unusual for female teachers who have statutorily raped teen boys to defend themselves by falsely accusing their victims of rape. Remember Robin Mowery? How about Lina Sinah? In those cases, the young males were twice-victimized by the same woman: once of statutory rape, and once of a false rape claim. How peculiar -- and awful -- it must be to be falsely accused of rape by your own rapist, but that is what occurred.

I suspect that when female teachers and male students engage in consensual sex, even the prospect of a rape claim by the teacher will sometimes keep boys from reporting the encounter -- because, let's be honest, it's all-too easy to accuse a teen boy of rape, and the boys would likely be fearful of going to prison. Boys also likely underreport being statutorily raped because their parents -- their mothers especially -- would consider it to be an atrocity and would engage in serious victim blaming.

The news story below furnishes some interesting twists on this peculiar scenario. A teacher is charged with statutorily raping a boy. The boy at issue was almost a man -- one month shy of having to register for selective service, and that likely would serve to reduce her sentence if she is found guilty.

It is plausible that this boy, like most 17-year-old boys, was capable of physically overcoming his female teacher if he intended to rape her. And, yes, false rape claims are a problem for teachers -- especially male teachers. "Mark Pudlow, spokesman for the Florida Teachers Association, the state's major teachers union . . . points out [that] unions . . . have an obligation to help teachers who are themselves victims of bogus accusations . . . . 'There needs to be an understanding,' says Pudlow, 'that even when a false accusation hits the newspapers, it can ruin a teaching career.'"

But if the boy didn't rape the teacher in this case, she raped him because the law is the law, and at 17, he was too young to engage in legally consensual sex with her.

And lest we minimize the victimization of teen boys molested by female teachers by thinking them "lucky," it is well to remember that "boys who are sexually abused by women often develop alcoholism, depression and their own sexual dysfunctions, including rape, as men."

We don't know if the teacher in this case is lying, and we shouldn't rush to judgment. The police think she is lying, and the story notes that two other students have come forward claiming a sexual relationship with her. If the genders were reversed, we all know how everyone would react to that last bit of news. And we can also envision the harsh criminal sentence he'd receive.

But here's the most interesting aspect of the story -- the teacher's take on it: "'Binkley [the accused teacher] said there had been an unfair rush to judgment against her because of her profession.' . . . . . She said there had been some unfair comparisons to other high profile cases. 'Cause it's a teacher. All teachers are guilty. With all the things recently - it's a teacher story and teachers have to be guilty,' said Binkley."

Hmm. Interesting, isn't it? The fact is, female teachers are the only group of females at real risk of having false rape claims lodged against them. She might be correct that teachers in her situation (caught having sex with boys) are automatically deemed to be statutory rapists.

But when she says there is an unfair rush to judgment because of her profession, it reminds me of virtually every case we cover on this blog -- only the unfair rush to judgment is almost always against an accused male, because of his gender. It's assumed that any man or boy accused of rape must be guilty. And, as shown on this website over and over and over again, that's exactly how they are treated by the legal system and by society.

We all want justice to prevail here, as we do in all of these cases. We shouldn't assume the teacher is guilty. And if, indeed, Ms. Binkley is innocent, then now she knows how virtually every innocent male accused of rape feels -- it's as if the trial is over even before it has begun and she's been convicted in the court of public opinion solely because of what she is, not what she did.

Welcome to our world, Ms. Binkley.


Statutory Rape - Or A Victim In Her Own Classroom?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In an exclusive interview, former Portland High School math teacher Sandy Binkley does not deny the encounter with a student, but said she was the victim of rape by the student.

Binkley is charged with statutory rape by an authority figure. Police said she had sex with a student in a classroom during school hours.

"There was one incident with one student - who was a month away from being 18. He was bigger than me and he forced himself on me," said Binkley. "He came into the room and forced himself upon me."

Attorney David Ridings said his client did not seduce the student for sex.

"There's been so many lies and mischaracterizations," Binkley's attorney David Ridings.

"Nothing could be farther from the truth."

Ridings and prosecutors do agree something happened in the girls' volleyball office. During a preliminary court hearing the student, who was a teacher's aid, testified.

"She laid down on the desk and I began to have intercourse with her . . . She said her tubes were tied which is why I didn't wear a condom. . . She said this isn't what you expected when you signed up for a teacher's aid," from the student's testimony in the preliminary hearing transcript.
The testimony was enough for the grand jury to indict Binkley, but her attorneys said there are inconsistencies.

Under cross examination the student admitted he was physical with Binkley.

"Did you pick her up and force her on the desk and have sex with her?" said the attorney.
"Not at all," said the student.

"You did not pick her up?" said the attorney.

"I picked her up, but she wanted it," said the student.

Binkley said there had been an unfair rush to judgment against her because of her profession.

"It's been terrible. First few months spent in bed. I didn't interact with my husband or kids - my family. Nothing," said Binkley.

She said there had been some unfair comparisons to other high profile cases.

"Cause it's a teacher. All teachers are guilty. With all the things recently - it's a teacher story and teachers have to be guilty," said Binkley. "I don't see myself that way."

Pam Rogers, a former beauty queen turned teacher in Warren County, is serving eight years in prison.

She was convicted in 2006 of having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old student.

"I don't know how I got lumped into the same category as her," said Binkley.

Binkley said unlike Rogers she did not do anything wrong.

"It was just one incident. It was not a wanted incident. He came into the room and forced himself upon me," said Binkley.

Two other students came forward claiming sexual relationships with Binkley.

"I know she's innocent. I know she didn't do anything wrong. I know she's the victim in this case," said husband Doug Binkley.

In an exclusive interview Thursday Binkley responds about the other relationships. She also talked about a certain style of teaching; she said the administration encouraged that could lead students to cross the line with their teachers.

Her attorneys hope the community will hear Binkley's story. They believe there are people out there who will say the students are lying and may come forward.

Police said there was no evidence of that.