|Ramifications of Educator Sexual Misconduct
To compound the right decision being made, teens embellish, look for support, acceptance,
reinforcement, etc., leading to a compromise being easily made as an adult attempts to deal with the
young people, especially teens who are very emotional and can be very demanding, especially in subtle
ways. They have little/no experience base and they react accordingly. The offender’s influence over
their victim is due in large part to their lack of experience in dealing with adults that enable, and certainly
their experience is limited in terms of being manipulated by an adult with a sexual deviance.
The cycle - factors that contribute to offending
The factors that contribute to sexual offending are complex and as varied as are people. There are no
portals into the sex offenders head, nor are there any signs or flashing lights. Often the sex offender is
in such dire straits as to the distorted thinking and deviancy that aside from the obvious confrontation of
right and wrong, there exists a feeling of helplessness in the face of the addiction. Offenders find an
easy escape from the reality by justifying their behavior, their attraction to a teen-ager, as normal. They
know the difference between right and wrong. They know that the relationship is certainly improper and
inappropriate. They know nothing of the ramifications of the behavior in terms of their victim. They
justify their behavior because s/he never resists, because the offender believes that s/he is acting of his/
her own accord. The victim is acting under the offender’s influence, the manipulations, and the
misplaced support that is offered. The victim feels secure with the offender, s/he trusts the offender and
has confidence in what the offender is doing. What the offender is doing is wrong and if the victim has
any doubt about the appropriateness of the relationship, it is overshadowed by the assertion by the
offender that everything is fine. The victim is influenced to disregard what s/he knows is wrong, what
s/he has been taught at home, and to follow the lead: the lead of an influential adult. The offender’s
behavior is a play on emotions, and the emotions of affection are powerful.
The combination of working hard at the job and working hard at influencing the victim into harmful
activities is identified in sexual offender counseling as the pretend-Normal phase, a dangerous
combination of thoughts and feelings and especially behaviors that switch back and forth between a
normal life and the scenario when they pretend everything is normal. It should be obvious that the
offender cannot lead a dual life style without some effort at covering up the undesirable life. So the
offender sandwiches the offenses against the victim with the normal activities which people are
accustomed to seeing. Amongst the thoughts are deviant fantasies where offenders envision the
behaviors that they wished to engage in with their young victim. The facts that victims are minors and
years younger should preclude any thoughts of a sexual nature. The distortion of that thinking
facilitates deviant fantasies that need to be addressed on a professional level. However, offenders are
too ill to recognize that they need help. It is easier to find rationale and to ascribe their feelings to some
form of normalcy.
The sex offender can have other contributing factors that make up the entire “package.” Most of these
factors are part of everyone’s life, such as interpersonal relations, stress, which may be job related,
problems in a marriage, or any of a whole bunch of contributing issues. The sex offender, however,
compounds normal everyday living by adding to the mixture deviant stimuli, such as porno, deviant
sexual outlets, addictive behaviors, substance abuse, and failure to meet responsibilities. Are you
keeping track? How would you (attempt to) monitor your staff if you suspected a sexual abuser? There
is no check list, but there is a set of behaviors, which unfortunately, also fits the non-sex offender, your
other staff. You would do a disservice, a grave injustice, were you to start a witch hunt.... If Mr. X, the
math teacher, has been seen walking the malls or driving in the same area on different occasions, is he
cruising? If Ms Y has a subscription to Playgirl, is she using porno? Is this one of the attributes of a sex
The sex offender “model” suggests a long history of offending or a history of deviant activities prior to
offending. The offending cycle is comprised of several phases and begins with the phase identified as
the acting out pre-assault phase. This is the period of time when the offender attempts to put his
fantasies into action. The victim is subjected to a grooming process which includes, amongst other
things, flirtations with the intent of gaining trust and confidence. The flirtations may be overt or subtle.
In the case of teachers, it more or less has to be subtle, for to be a lewd in flirting would most certainly
Sex offenders may also employ cruising, visiting arcades, malls, gathering spots for potential victims,
though teachers have before and around them a potential pool of victims. Cruising would be a difficult
MO to monitor and might very well be relegated to the rumor control center, and the rumbling of the
rumor mill is a weak platform from which to work Pedophiles also resort to seeking victims through
baby sitting and cruising/hanging around playgrounds, schools. School personnel should be aware of
unidentified persons lingering in the vicinity of the schools and should notify the administration. And as
always, the students should be reminded constantly about the “strangers among us.”
The proximity to victims and the positions of authority that teachers, clergy, group leaders (scouts, little
league coaches, etc.) have, coupled with a high level of influence/ power inherent in this positions, is a
dangerous combination. It is certainly speculated, and I have reason to believe, that there are more
offenses throughout our society that have gone, and are going on, unreported. If from this series of
presentations even one offense is prevented or uncovered, the gain will be substantial.
Acting upon the deviant fantasies and distorted thinking and working through the acting out/pre-assault
phase, the sex offender moves on to the Offending Phase where the fantasies are acted upon the victim.
Again, the MO is generally the same with each offender following their own personal quirks. One method
of victimizing is to get the victim into isolation by having him/her visit the classroom when the offender
has an non-teaching period. Another method is to ask him/her to be an “assistant,” a student helper.
This helps to isolate the student in a one-to-one situation. .
The “HOW” of the victimization and “how” offenders live with themselves is tied together in the
rationalization and transitory guilt that they feel. The rationalization will lay in the distorted views of the
victim. The offender may feel s/he is in love with the victim; the victim is in love with the offender. That
makes it all right to sexually abuse him/her. The “how” of the offending is further strengthened by the
distorted views of self. The contributing factors of self include education, social skills, introversion, and
a myriad of issues from the family life, both present and those of the growing-up years.
The ramifications of inappropriate relationships are long lasting, profound, far reaching for the victim, to
their families, the offender and their families, and the community, and especially the work place of the
offender, be it in the school, the little league, or the athletic team, and the damage is irreversible. Time
may be often referred to as the all time great healer, but there are always reminders of the past.
The impact upon the victim is much greater. There will be, first and foremost, a loss of trust, and
confidence, in herself and especially in adults. Feelings of betrayal in the face of the assault from a
trusted adult and perhaps even about the system, school, scouts, little league, youth group, etc. The
victim’s physical health may be placed in jeopardy through a loss or interruption of sleep and the
development of eating disorders. There are far ranging and long lasting psychological trauma including
loss of self-esteem, depression, and suicide ideation.
The impact upon the victim’s family and social structure further highlights the damage caused by an
inappropriate behavior upon children and teens. The effects are domino-like, from the victim, through
her family, and through the community. Victims may experience loss of trust from family members.
Their integrity may be questioned, especially if the offender was highly visible and respected in the
community. This unintentional victimization finds its roots in bias and lack of information. The victim
needs to be treated as a victim. Regardless of the dynamics of the abuse, teachers must maintain the
boundaries and there can by no justification for crossing them.
Certainly to no minor consideration, the effect upon the offender, the offender’s family and social
structure, and upon the community/organization (scouts, schools, church, etc.) is no less tragic. The
feelings of guilt, embarrassment, betrayal, and hurt are but a few of the feelings, although some of the
feelings are part of the deviant cycle and of the distorted thinking. It is a given that offender will never
teach in the public schools again and other doors are also closed due to the felony conviction and the
stigma of the sex offender registry.