The lenient sentence Judge Aaron Persky handed to Stanford student Brock Turner for raping a drunken co-ed enraged the social media and the public conscience, resulting in thousands of op-eds, protests from feminists and rape-culture activists, petitions, a recall effort, and most devastating of all, an Ethics Alarms post.
Last week, a 33-year old high school teacher named Lindsay Himmelspach pleaded guilty to repeatedly having sex with two minor students at the high school, and received the almost the identical sentence, from another California judge, as Turner. Himmelspach recieved three years probation and four months in jail.
I’m listening, but I hear no screams of outrage.
The judge, Butte County Superior Court Judge James Reilley, administered the equivalent rap on the wrist that her Santa Clara colleague did on Turner because Himmelspach had no prior criminal record, she expressed remorse, and somehow he concluded that she’d never do such a thing again. (I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact the she is hot, and the judge was thinking, “Those lucky bastards!”) Indeed, the judge didn’t even require the predator teacher to register as a sex offender, at least not yet. He’s keeping an open mind, and will decide after a separate hearing.
Now, it is true that there are strong arguments that what Turner did was worse than what the teacher did. There are also legitimate arguments that she warranted as much jail time as what protesters want him to serve, if not more. She had two victims, he had one. He engaged in one instance of rape, but Himmelspach was charged with two counts of “illegal sexual intercourse,” that is, statutory rape, that is, rape. Her exploitation of the boys occurred between May 15, 2015, and Sept. 15, 2015, and I doubt that they were playing Trivial Pursuit all that time. While Turner was one drunken student preying an another, Himmelspach was a trusted professional in a position of authority, using a child as her sex toy “She was my teacher, mom. What was I supposed to do?” one of her victims alledgedly said.
While activists are currently trying to make it seem like college is a veritable rape hunting ground for young, innocent, vulnerable women, these are adults on both sides of the campus equation, and adults of equal power and status. Legally, Himmelspach’s quarry were children, and she was a professional entrusted with their education, not their introduction into the Wonderful World of Illicit Sex with Middle-Aged Women.
Is the problem of sexual predator teachers in public schools worse than the problem of male college students not knowing that no means no (or that yes might also mean no unless you have a signed affidavit)?
I’m not sure. I do know this, though:
1.The hypocrisy of feminists is palpable.
2. The message sent by the lenient sentence for the predator teacher should be more troubling than Turner’s sentence, if only because it is fairly typical of such cases when the female teacher’s face won’t stop a clock.
3. The alleged “war on women” on college campuses should not take higher priority than the war on innocent children in our schools.
4. If the genders were reversed, I guarantee that Brie Turner’s light sentence for ravishing a drunken frat boy would be getting the same “meh” reaction as Himmelspach’s sentence is now, and Mr. Lindsay Himmelspach would be facing hard time….
5….especially if “Brie” were as cute as the actual teacher.
Source: Chicago ER
12 thoughts on “From The Ethics Alarms Double Standard Files: A Brock Turner Sentence For A Predator Teacher, And Everyone Shrugs”
Sorry Jack — Its different, and the public reaction is understandably different. Turner was busted by good samaritan bystanders who witnessed him forcibly raping an unconscious woman. Himmelspach was busted because one or both of the 17 year olds were bragging about the hook up. The victim impact statement in Turner’s case is gut-wrenching. If the Himmelspach case had a victim impact statement it probably resembled the theme song from “The Graduate.”
Himmelspach’s sentence sounds about right. It would have probably been higher if the boys were younger. Do you really think these 17 year old boys have been victimized anywhere near the extent that Turner’s victim was? And once they turn 18, it is not even a crime. The abuse of power is primarily a workplace issue — it is a crime because of the age of the boys, not their status as students.
Just because Men and Women are treated somewhat differently in this area of the law does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with the varying treatment.
And the role reversal with “Brie Turner” is physically impossible because for the analogy to work the male victim would have to be unconscious.
As I said, I can see that argument. On the other hand, you are also accepting the “boys just love this stuff” rationalization, and that’s as bad, in my view, as arguing that Turner’s victim “wanted it.” The illegal sexual treatment of the boys was greater, of longer duration, and a personal as well as a professional breach.
By the way, women have impregnated themselves on unconscious men. Don’t make me explain it to you….
That was actually recorded in the Bible.
“Just because Men and Women are treated somewhat differently in this area of the law does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with the varying treatment.”
Did you really just type that? “Equal protection under the law” Unless you’re male… then it’s different. Of course.
This is one of those logic pretzels that I’m having a hard time treating anyone who expresses as anything less having than a mental disorder: Are you really saying that women abusing their positions of power is somehow less bad then men? Why? “It’s different” Why? These questions don’t have good answers. Proponents tend to throw up their hands and say something like: “It just is” This fundamental inability to put into words why you think something is the point where a rational person should take a step back and realize that they have no real reason to think what they do, and maybe follow that train of thought to a place less based on intangibilities.
Feminists say that we live in a rape culture. They’ll say that rape is normalized, that no one cares about it. I think the arguement is facially stupid: We care. When a rapist gets a slap on the wrist, people loose their minds. I look at Muslim nations, where they practise bachi bazi, or have child brides, or where rape victims are punished, and “rape culture” just seems like a cripplingly stupid theory. But then people like you come with the train of excuses… it’s not “rape” rape, he wanted it, he was bragging, he should be congratulated for being “raped”… And I realize that we do live in a rape culture. Fuck boys, literally, right?
Yeah, Dan’s attitude is 1) common, 2) discouraging, and 3) impossible to justify.
I don’t have to reverse the genders of the two rapists…let’s just imagine the uproar if a 33 year old male teacher has sex with two under0age female students over five months, and got this sentence. And legally, it makes no difference whether the victims are 17 or 14. They are regarded, for good reason, as not being able to consent to sex, any more than if they were unconscious. It’s rape.
Legally it makes no difference if the boy is 17 or 14? Of course it does. Not to guilt or innocence but in sentencing assuming the judge has discretion. That’s like saying stealing $500 is no different than stealing 500k.
So you think it’s less rape for every month past? The fact that a judge has discretion doesn’t mean it’s a valid reason to be lenient. No screwing kids means no screwing kids. Then the argument becomes “he’s a mature 12-year old” or he’s “an innocent 17 year old.” The way you stop teachers from doing this is by making the crime the betrayal and the predator conduct, regardless of the victim. Grand larceny is a different CRIME from petty theft. There is no such distinction in rape.
Humble see the Michael M. case 450 U.S. 464 where the Supreme Court held that one-sided statutory rape laws do not violate equal protection. The Court observed, correctly in my view, that the State has a strong interest is the prevention of illegitimate/unwanted teenage pregnancies, and protecting young women from sexual intercourse and pregnancy at an age when the physical, emotional, and psychological consequences are particularly severe. Stated another way, these laws were not passed to protect 17 year old boys.
The abuse of power issue here is serious, but standing alone it is not a crime. If the boys were 18 there would be no crime but the abuse of power would be just as bad.
A 35 year old, pre-feminist, anachronism is what that opinion is, and today it looks about as ludicrous as Dred Scott. It’s just wrong, and if the occasion arises to reconsider it, it’s dead. The status of the opinion is that it holds unethical conduct is legal, as a lot of unethical conduct still is.
No, Mr. Abrams, it is not different. Nor is it understandable that public reaction is different. It is blatant hypocrisy, it places the well being of those two raped young men below the well being of other rape victims. It says that male rape victims mean less than female rape victims; it says that statutory rape by someone attractive isn’t really a bad thing.
Just the violation of trust by this teacher could affect these boys for the rest of their lives….and they may not even realize what the problem is.
It’s disgusting and it’s just plain sad.
Makes me wonder what kind of sexual abuse was visited upon Ms. Himmelspach when she was a teenager. Very sad.
And what a name: Heavenlyspeech.