No jail time for female B.C. teacher who molested 11 year old boy

A former school teacher from Langley, B.C. received a conditional sentence after pleading guilty to sexual interference with an child between the ages of 11 and 13 between 1998 and 2000. The teacher, who was 43, 44, and 45 at the time the crimes took place, will be submitting to 18 months of house arrest, community service, and a curfew.

The difference between this case and the moral outrage that normally accompanies cases of child molestation is that the teacher, Deborah Ralph, now 59, is a woman and her victim was a young boy.

TheProvince reports that her crimes included kissing, touching, cuddling, and oral sex with the child, who was not her student at the time. Like many high profile cases of child molestation where the perpetrator is a female teacher and the child is a young boy a psychiatric report portrayed Ralph as a woman who saw herself in a consenting romantic relationship with the boy.

Justice Selwyn Romilly didn’t view Ralph as a typical predatory child molester saying that she was at a low risk of re-offending and that “she is at a very different point in her life after a great deal of introspection and emotional growth.”

The decision handed down by the judge clearly notes that the sex of the offender influenced the ruling, stating that  “Ms. Ralph’s sexual behaviour with the victim was not consistent with that of a predatory paedophile. Instead the category of female sex offender into which her offending falls is recognized in the literature as the “teacher/lover” who sees herself as part of a consenting romantic relationship with an adolescent and does not recognize any abusive behaviour. However the behaviour clearly violates the normal boundaries present in the teacher/pupil relationship”

What many people fail to realise is that this situation and ones like it show a problem with the advances of modern feminism. While women have fought for years to dispel the image of the mother, the child, the nurturer, or the emotional and docile female the case of Deborah Ralph shows that the courts haven’t yet caught up.

Feminists need to be fighting not only to dispel these notions to protect the advancement of women in the workplace and society, but to ensure harsher penalties for sexual predators who happen to be women to protect our own families, the families of others, and the community as a whole.