If you think that paedophiles are all old men that hang around toilet blocks, you’d be wrong.
In the last few years, there has been a lot of media coverage focused on predator adult women – female paedophiles, mainly in the teaching profession.
Female sexual abuse may be scoffed at by some, thinking that young boys are ‘lucky’ to have the opportunity to have sex with their teacher. But that is not the case. Female paedophiles cause just as much shame, humiliation, and long-term damage as male sex offenders.
In fact, according to The Daily Mail UK, the number of female paedophiles has doubled in the last four years.
Most parents trust the teachers of their children at school implicitly — particularly the female teachers. Female paedophiles that are teachers not only show favouritism to their victim or intended victim, but cut breaks on homework, and make threats to fail the child if the abuse stops.
The idea that women are able to sexually abuse children undermined feelings about the way women were supposed to relate to children. The general opinion was that women have roles primarily as caregivers. In this role, they should also be protectors against so-called predatory men. To put women in a sexually aggressive role was disrupting the preconceived notion that a woman is not able physically or morally to commit abuse or rape.
Three researchers made a report in 1995, dividing female sex offenders into four main categories.
- Predisposed Intergenerational
This is characterised by a lone female perpetrator who has a history of incest with multiple persons.
“Male-Coerced,” a woman who abuses children on behalf of a male partner. Examples include Christine Callaghan who was paid to livestream footage of her abusing a young girl.
This woman is a lone perpetrator targeting within a babysitting context. Examples are 49-year-old Vanessa George who abused dozens of babies and toddlers whilst working at Little Ted’s nursery in England.
This is a lone woman perpetrator falling in love with a teenage male.
Female sex offenders differ in several ways from males, besides these categories. When they are serial, they do not abuse the same high number of victims than men do, and women are rarely repeating offenders. Women rarely attack or stalk random teenagers or children. Women offenders often develop or feed off of a so-called relationship with their victim and they consider this relationship as being love.
Women sex offenders also end up seeing themselves and their victims on a peer-to-peer basis.
Here is a list of the most notorious female paedophiles in existence to date:
1. Lindsay Massaro
Type of Paedophile: Teacher/Lover
In 2009, 23-year-old Teacher Lindsay Massaro admitted having sexual encounters in her bedroom and in her car with one of her male pupils. Massaro was a teacher at the K-8 Frankford Elementary School in Sussex County, New Jersey, USA. Massaro was still a student-teacher at the time, being a senior at Centenary College in Hackettstown. She was working toward getting her state special education teaching certificate.
Massaro told police investigators that she had a one-week long relationship with her middle school student victim. One of the sexual encounters with her pupil occurred in her car in Branchville. During another encounter, Massaro took the boy to her home in Frankford, where they had sex in her bedroom.
She was arrested and charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, third-degree endangering the welfare of a minor and second-degree sexual assault.
The most serious charge was punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Massaro admitted that she had sexual encounters with the boy, but she claimed that it was a “consensual sexual relationship”. As part of a plea bargain agreement, she pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree sexual assault. The state recommended a parole supervision for life and four-year prison sentence.
2. Cara Dickey
Type of Paedophile: Teacher/Lover
Cara Dickey is another female paedophile who was a teacher from New York who has sexually assaulted one of her students. Horrifyingly, she also made a suicide pact with her victim. After the 34-year-old former teacher was convicted of raping her minor student aged 14, she spent three years in prison before being released to home detention with an ankle bracelet. She then somehow removed the bracelet and disappeared.
At the time of her offence, the former middle school teacher was a married mother-of-three.
Her parole officer had received information not long before her disappearance that Dickey may be involved with another minor. The police suspected she may have run away with one of her other victims. Facing additional prison time, the former teacher was arrested again in Buffalo, in 2015, for parole violations. She has since been released from prison.
Dickey is now a registered sex offender and will remain on probation until 2020.
3. Jennifer Lea Burton
Jennifer Lea Burton was a 39-year-old PE teacher who was accused of having an unlawful sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female student. The sexual abuse continued for a period of two months. Burton was a coach and teacher at the Orangefield Junior High School. After being charged with three counts of felony sexual assault, Burton resigned from the Southeast Texas middle school where she was teaching.
The former teacher was indicted by an Orange County grand jury on three counts of the improper teacher-student relationship and on three counts of sexual assault. The felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Burton made a plea deal with prosecutors by pleading guilty to one charge of improper relationship with a student and two charges of sexual assault. The former teacher and coach accepted a 10-year prison time deal offered. However, her attorney Larry Hunter blamed the victim, saying that the 14-year-old female student was not only an active participant but also the real instigator for the sexual contact.
But Cory Kneeland, Assistant District Attorney at Orange County made it clear that it is improper and inappropriate to imply a child victim is responsible for this act.
4. Lisa Lavoie
Another female pedophile is Teacher Lisa Lavoie. In 2008, the former Holyoke middle school teacher was having sex with one of her 15-year-old students. In early 2011, she pleaded guilty to statutory rape and was sentenced to five years probation.
One of the conditions of her probation was to not have any contact with the boy or his family. However, she was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months in 2012 for breaking that rule.
Lavoie was 26 years old when the sexual asssault was committed. According to the boy’s declaration to the police, their relationship started when he got her mobile phone number. The relationship became sexual after they began texting. The two had left the region together, traveling over multiple states including Vermont, New York, Delaware, and West Virginia. According to the young victim, he and Lavoie have built a deep friendship because both of them had difficult lives.
5. Lisa Robyn Marinelli
Lisa Robyn Marinelli was a 40-year-old substitute teacher at Mitchell High School in Florida, USA. Marinelli convinced a male 17-year-old student to come to her home by attempting to set him up with her 15-year-old daughter.
After a period of time when the two would meet regularly, the boy’s father discovered sexually suggestive text messages on his son’s mobile phone, sent by Marinelli. The boy’s father reported the matter to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Marinelli is now registered as a sex offender and was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
6. Amy McElhenney
Amy McElhenney was a 25-year-old Spanish teacher and former Miss Texas candidate at Hebron High School in Denton County, Texas. In 2006, the beauty queen teacher was accused of having an indecent sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student. One of her work colleagues suspected the relationship and reported the incident to the police.
McElhenney initially denied any sexual contact with the boy, however, numerous text messages were found on the teacher’s phone.
The student reported to police that they had engaged in sexual intercourse on numerous occasions at her apartment.
The grand jury decided not to jail Amy McElhenney, nor was she charged with the offence because the boy had reached the age of consent in the United States. However, she was fired from her teaching position.
7. Stephanie Ragusa
Stephanie Ragusa is a former teacher at Davidson Middle School in Tampa Bay. Ragusa was a special needs teacher who took advantage of two teen boys in 2006 and 2007.
Ragusa had broken her foot and was wheelchair-bound. She asked a 14-year-old student at the school if he would push her around, explaining to him that this would help him out with his extreme shyness. She encouraged him to visit her at her apartment where she sexually abused him on multiple occasions. She was also having a sexual relationship with another 16-year-old student at the time.
As a consequence, the teacher was ordered 10 years imprisonment. However, she was released after six years for good behaviour, even though the judge that ordered her sentence called her a ‘sexual predator’.
8. Mary Kay Letourneau
Mary Kay Letourneau is probably the most infamous female paedophile known to date. The former teacher who was married with four children pleaded guilty to two counts of felony and second-degree rape of a child. She had sexual encounters with her 12-year-old student, Vili Fualaau and as a result, she gave birth to his child while awaiting sentencing.
Her plea agreement called for no contact with Fualaau for life, six months in jail and three months suspension. However, her case gained national attention when she was caught by police in a car with Fualaau just one month after her three months in jail. For violation of the conditions of the plea agreement, a judge re-sentenced her to a maximum of seven years in prison.
Letourneau was released from prison in 2004 and the couple married. In May 2017, the couple filed for separation.
Mary Kay Letourneau passed away from cancer in July 2020.
How Society Treats Female Pedophiles
Society still treats women, sexual offenders, with a double standard, somehow minimising the gravity of the situation in their case.
They also have the tendency to excuse the female perpetrator on the reason that she just couldn’t help herself. It is unclear why for some people it is so difficult to see the damage to the child. They are quick to rationalise the behaviour as not harmful and sometimes even claiming that the victim should be “proud” of the abuse. When female teachers are the perpetrators of sexual abuse on their students, there is a permanent double standard.
This attitude is wrong, and everyone should get to see that no matter the gender of the sex offender or their victim, the gravity of the fact remains the same, as well as the long term consequences on the victim’s psychological makeup.