Thanks, Bob, for posting this. The reporter didn't send me copy and i could not recall which newspaper it was, so this is my first opportunity to read it.
Here is the article (sometimes these articles are not available on line for long):
More women being charged with sex abuse
Society has begun to understand damage done to boys, experts say
By JEFF COLE
Last Updated: Feb. 3, 2003
It's 1987, and a 36-year-old Madison high school gym teacher is charged with sexual assault for a liaison in her basement with a 15-year-old boy.
But the case is tossed out of court on a technicality. A Dane County judge says, in effect, that the law is worded in such a fashion that it isn't possible for a woman to sexually assault a boy.
Fast-forward to the present. The law still reads the same, but it's being interpreted differently - and much more aggressively.
West Bend high school teacher Carla Paulsrud, 31, was charged Jan. 22 with five counts of sexually assaulting a student, starting when he was 16. Then she was hauled back into court when she was accused of disobeying a court order not to see the boy, now 17.
The criminal complaint says Paulsrud, who has since resigned, had more than 50 sexual encounters with the boy. If convicted, she could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.
But Paulsrud's is just the latest case in Wisconsin. Others include:
* Gina M. Schroeter, 42, of Grafton was sentenced in December in Ozaukee County to a year in prison and six years' extended supervision for having sexual encounters with a 15-year-old Cedarburg boy. The relationship between the two was kindled while they were preparing for a church Christmas pageant.
* Laurie J. Mosher, 40, an English and drama teacher at Oshkosh North High School, pleaded guilty in August to a charge of sexual assault of a student after having an eight-month-long sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student.
She was sentenced in December to 2 1/2 years in prison and 3 1/2 years of extended supervision.
* Melissa A. Bittner, 23, a music teacher at Messmer High School in Milwaukee, was sentenced to a year in prison and three years of community supervision in June for having repeated sexual contact with a 16-year-old male student.
* Lori Ann Hanson, 36, a special education teacher at Bluff View Intermediate School in Prairie du Chien, pleaded no contest to a charge of sexual assault of a student. She was sentenced in April 2001 to serve a two-year prison sentence.
Hanson had a six-month sexual relationship with a 16-year-old male student.
There are currently 319 women listed on Wisconsin's sexual offender registry and 52 women in prison for committing sexual assaults. The offender registry has more than 11,000 names on it, said Bill Clausius, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.
"Fifty years ago, if a dad heard about a teacher having sex with his son, he would go over to the teacher's house and tell her to knock that crap off," Milwaukee defense attorney Robert G. LeBell said. "It wouldn't even be referred to the police. Today, society's attitude has definitely changed."
Law enforcement and mental health professionals agree. And as a result, more and more women are being arrested, charged and convicted of sexual assaulting boys.
"What's happening is not just a blip on the radar," said Richard Gartner, a psychologist practicing in New York. "People are now realizing that boys can be sexually abused and that women can be sexual predators."
Gartner is president of MaleSurvivor, a group that works with male victims of sexual abuse.
He said boys may be conditioned to think that they were lucky to have such an encounter. But, he added, later in life they suffer from many of the same problems female sexual assault victims do: an inability to form appropriate relationships, an improper attitude toward sex, depression and feelings of rage.
Rare in past
Robert J. Shoop, a professor of educational administration at Kansas State University and an expert on sexual harassment prevention, said that not too long ago it was rare that such cases got as far as the courts.
"It's clear that society didn't believe there was any injury done to the boy," Shoop said. "That is changing. People are starting to realize the psychological damage that can be done by one of these affairs."
Women are just as cunning as men in picking out their victims, Shoop said. They pick immature boys with low self-esteem who come from troubled homes, or who are having problems fitting in at school, he said.
"I have not found a case where the captain of the football team or the son of the police chief has been involved," Shoop said.
They know that the boys they choose are far less likely to tell anyone what is happening, he added.
Brad D. Schimel, a Waukesha County assistant district attorney, agrees. "I think there is a greater reluctance on the part of boys to report this sort of thing. I don't know if it's a different attitude or what."
In years past, Shoop said, when teacher-student sex cases were discovered in schools, teachers were fired and sent on to another school district.
And that's exactly what happened in the '87 Dane County case.
Because the case was dismissed, the woman still has a valid state teacher's certificate, according to state Department of Public Instruction records. She was teaching in New Glarus as recently as last year.