Tag Archives: mothers

Just So We’re Clear: Some School Sexual Predators Are More Unethical Than Others

lunchladyJanelle Foley, 32,  who works in the cafeteria of Chapman Middle School in Weymouth, Mass., was charged with four counts of statutory rape for having sexual relations with a 15 year old student at the school during the Thanksgiving and New Year holidays.

This is statutory rape, and wrong, but approximately half as wrong as when the sexual predator’s target  is her (or his)  student rather than someone she glops mashed potatoes for in the lunch line. True, every employee in a school has to be worthy of some level of trust, but a teacher is blatantly misusing her authority and blurring roles to the detriment of education as well as social development when she exploits the position of teacher/role model/ authority figure/mentor for the purposes of sexual gratification. A lunch lady is just picking up horny teens. One is a professional breach and a sleazy crime. The other is a sleazy crime, and nothing more.

On the other hand, the role betrayal involved when a friend’s mother seduces her son’s underage friend is every bit as reprehensible as the acts of a predator teacher. I tend to think the Sexual Predator Lunch Lady is not a serious threat in our schools.

And where does “The Summer of ’42″ land along this spectrum?

I ‘m not certain, but closer to the lunch lady than to the teacher, I think.


Pointer: Fark

Facts: Boston.com


Filed under Education, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Romance and Relationships

Ethics Alarms Presents …The Kaboom! The First Recipient: Fun Mom Judy Viger


With this post, I am introducing the Kaboom!, a special category reserved for cases that should require no ethics commentary from me, since the ethical breach is beyond obvious, but where the individual’s ethics alarms have proven so spectacularly useless that attention must be paid.

The name of the award derives from the sound my head made as I read the story, because I don’t know how to spell the sound my brains made when they hit hit the ceiling and then slowly fell to the floor.

The first Kaboom! goes to the most deserving Judy Viger, 33, of Gansevoort, New York. Viger is taking a plea deal after being charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Just for fun, let me tell this story in stages, and let me know when you hear the Kaboom!

1.Police arrested Viger for after she arranged to have two strippers perform at her son’s 16th birthday party in November.

2. Some of the party-goers were 14.

3. The two women performed lap dances for the male teenaged guests, and the birthday boy, of course.

4. Viger did nothing to stop it.

5. One teenaged boy sustained a bitten nipple.

6. Viger then posted pictures of the proceedings on Facebook.

How did you do?

My head went off at #1.


Pointer: ABA Journal

Facts: Post Star


Filed under Family, Gender and Sex, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement, The Internet

No, Mary, A Cure For Down Syndrome Isn’t Wrong, But Infecting Readers With Your Warped Ethical Reasoning Is

Let me know when Mary's gone and it safe to take my boot off.

Let me know when Mary’s gone and it’s safe to take the boot off.

The internet can carry the contagion of horrible reasoning with astounding speed, especially since so many of us have been slow to accept that being published no longer creates any likelihood that a writer has a coherent thought worth reading. Even knowing this, I was still taken aback by the startling ethics illiteracy on display in blogger Mary Fischer’s post  titled “Possible ‘Cure’ for Down Syndrome Seems So Wrong.” This is the kind of undisciplined, emotion-driven, bias and rationalization besotted thinking about life issues that Ethics Alarms was launched to combat, and yet reading Fischer’s sloppy substitute for thought, I still found myself wondering: How does someone get this way? How do they function in life if their method of determining right from wrong reaches conclusions like this? How many people read posts so devoid of anything resembling legitimate ethical analysis and  allow it to become part of their belief system?

I’m not even sure that I want to know the answers to these questions. Continue reading


Filed under Bioethics, Family, Health and Medicine, Research and Scholarship, Science & Technology, The Internet, Unethical Blog Post

No Excuses For The Worst Mother In The World

No graphic appropriate for this story would be appropriate for publication.

No graphic appropriate for this story would be appropriate for publication.

In Jackson, Michigan, a mother is being held without bond on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison. Her alleged crime? She assisted her husband in sexually molesting their three-year-old daughter, and has apparently admitted it. She said she had to hold her daughter’s hands so “it wouldn’t hurt that much,” according to a Department of Human Services petition seeking to terminate her parental rights. If you dare, you can read the whole, terrible story, at least what we know of it now, here.

I know that she will have a defense attorney, as she should, and probably battered woman advocates, abused women specialists, psychiatrists and Gloria Allred will plead for understanding and compassion for her, as a victim, not a criminal. They will explain that the mother was in fear for her own life, and that her mind and priorities were so warped from years of psychological abuse that she felt she had no choice but to choose the sick compulsion of her husband over the safety of her helpless daughter.

I don’t care. Continue reading


Filed under Family, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

Actor Patrick Stewart (“Captain Picard”) Is A Father’s Day Ethics Hero

The video is self-explanatory.


Pointer: Alexander Cheezem





Filed under Character, Ethics Heroes, Family, Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture

Forget Gosnell: This Case Highlights The Real Abortion Issues

John Andrew Weldon, and the mother of his baby, and her property.

John Andrew Weldon, and the mother of his baby, and her property.

John Andrew Welden is being held on first degree murder charges for tricking his girlfriend, pregnant with his child, into taking an abortion bill ( Cyotec, a drug used to induce labor) that she thought was an antibiotic, because he had tampered with the label. The fetus, nearly seven weeks old, miscarried as a result. You can read this ugly story here.

She wanted to have the baby, he didn’t. He arranged his own abortion, deceiving her, betraying her, mistreating her terribly. But how did he commit murder? What he tricked her into aborting wasn’t a human being. NARAL says so. Sandra Fluck says so. President Obama says so.

The ethical and logical problem with our abortion laws, as well as the rhetoric and conduct surrounding them, is that they lack integrity and embarrassingly so. A seven week fetus is not treated as a human life if a mother chooses to have an abortion, and a doctor performs it. This must mean, in any sane, fair and ethical system, that it is not a human life. If it is not a life if a doctor aborts it, it isn’t a life if a boyfriend tricks the mother into aborting it. How can it be? The fetus hasn’t changed, and the conduct hasn’t changed. All that has changed is the agent, and there are only a few ways that can alter the act. “A deceptive killing?” A killing without authority,” perhaps. But the agent can’t make eliminating something first degree murder, if it wasn’t a human being that was eliminated. Continue reading


Filed under Bioethics, Gender and Sex, History, Law & Law Enforcement, War and the Military

Mom Ethics and Kobe Bryant’s Plight

Ah, how many of you must identify with Kobe Bryant today!

Did Mom throw them out?

Did Mom throw them out?

He is enmeshed in an ugly family dispute, suing his own mother in response to an unethical wound that mothers have casually inflicted on their children for centuries.

The superstar Los Angeles Lakers guard’s lawyers argued in a court filing that Bryant never gave his mother permission to sell his memorabilia from his high school days and early professional basketball career, in an attempt to block the auctioning off of jerseys, balls, trophies, championship rings and more for his mother’s profit. His mother, Pamela Bryant, says that she has the right to sell the stuff, because the NBA star told her the memorabilia was hers. She has already received a received a $450,000 advance to have Berlin, N.J.-based Goldin Auctions sell it all for top dollar. Continue reading


Filed under Family, Law & Law Enforcement, Sports

A New Low, Until The Next One

The horrible mother with her son, who does not have cancer. There does seem to be something amiss with his face, though...

The evil  mother with her son, who does not have cancer. There does seem to be something amiss with his face, though…

I thought the woman who tricked her lesbian crush into marrying her by faking an illness and pretending to be her own doctor in e-mails to her romantic target was about as low as a human being could stoop. Before that, it was the various compassion thieves whose scams have been discussed here. In the category of despicable mothers, I thought ground zero was reached by Torry Hanson, who decided that her adopted Russian son was just too much trouble, so she bought him a one way plane ticket to Russia and shipped him back all by himself, with a note renouncing her parenthood. But then I learned about Wanetta Gibson, and I think I have abandoned the quest for the absolute worst ethical behavior, useful as it would be for establishing a scale for ethical misconduct. Human ingenuity regarding the despicable is just too vast.

Nevertheless, Susan Stillwaggon allegedly pulled a scam that could only be devised by someone whose ethics alarms are not only inoperable, but work in reverse, warning her to stop and change course when she is about to do something good.

In order to pull off a fake illness scam, the New Jersey mother told her family, friends and community that her elementary school age son had cancer. And just so he wouldn’t blow a sweet deal—you know how kids are— she told him he had cancer too.

I’m sure I will eventually hear about something more unethical and heartless than this. I’m not looking forward to it.


Facts: CBS (Philly)

Graphic: The Coming Crisis


Filed under Character, Family, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement

New Year’s Ethics Quiz: Is It Ethical To Order A Woman Not To Have Children?

(This is my favorite judge picture, and I like to use it every year)

(This is my favorite judge picture, and I like to use it every year)

Kimberly Lightsey, 30, was being sentenced on four counts of child abuse for leaving her four children, ages 2 to 11 at the time, at a hotel while she went out to play. She had an arrangement with another mother in the hotel to watch the children, but that woman also was partying hard, it seems—so hard that she forgot what room Lightsey’s children were in. Meantime, one of Lightsey’s children, who was confined to a wheelchair, rolled out into the hallway and fell over.

Prosecutors asked for a 32-month jail sentence, but Judge Ernest Jones Jr. offered Kimberly a chance to avoid jail time. He would give her two years of house arrest and 13 years of probation, provided this aspiring Mother of the Year agreed not to have any more kids during that period.

She took the deal, but now The American Civil Liberties Union and her lawyer are wondering if the sentence is legal. My guess: it’s not, but that isn’t the issue. Let’s say this is within a judge’s power, and the sentence is legal. Your Ethics Alarms Quiz Question, the first of the new year, is this:

Is it ethical? Continue reading


Filed under Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

Introducing “The Marmion Award” and Its 2012 Honorees, Lavera Irene Hammond-Jackson and Stella Hammond-Jackson

Don't be so gloomy, Sir Walter! Here, let me cheer you up by telling you about the tangled web woven by the

Don’t be so gloomy, Sir Walter! Here, let me cheer you up by telling you about the tangled web woven by the Hammond-Jacksons!

I may never award this particular prize again, but a spectacular episode of incompetent mendacity like this needs to be immortalized. The Marmion Award is named in honor of “Marmion,” the long epic poem by novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). The work is best known for its lines:

Oh! what a tangled web we weave

When first we practice to deceive!

A Palmer too! No wonder why.

I felt rebuked beneath his eye.

I don’t know what Palmer has to do with it, but the reasons for the award will be immediately apparent when one reads the hilarious and deadpan Oconee County Sheriff’s Office account of the shoplifting arrest of a mother-daughter team at a Walmart’s in Oconee County, South Carolina. While it is refreshing, in an era when so many teens are estranged from their parents and reject their values, to see a mother and daughter so close in interests and ambitions, I cannot help reflect on how the daughter in this case never had a fighting chance to join the ranks of honest, respectable, productive members of society, since her mother has obviously raised her to be a shameless thief and a liar, and by the evidence of this report, succeeded in her goal. The report also shows, unfortunately, that a proud mentor’s offspring is unlikely to become a convincing liar if her mother and teacher is this inept at it herself.

Here is the report, reprinted in the Oconee Patch. I want to thank the patch, Fark, which flagged it, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, which preserved it for posterity, and especially the Hammond-Jacksons for giving me, in my depressed holiday state, the best laugh I’ve had in a long, long time.  Continue reading


Filed under Character, Family, Law & Law Enforcement, Literature