Is there gender bias in sex cases involving teachers? - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Is there gender bias in sex cases involving teachers?

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Former Mason high school gym teacher Stacy Schuler is enjoying the holidays as a free woman after spending just one year of a four year sentence in prison.

Schuler was convicted of having sex with five of her students.

Last year, former St. Dominic school teacher Matthew Hermann was sentenced to 26 years in prison for sex crimes involving two girls who were students.

These cases and others beg the question: Is there a bias in the way male and female defendants are treated in our criminal justice system?

Schuler, Hermann and Sarah Jones are all former area teachers who were convicted of sexual offenses involving their students, but their punishments were vastly different. The question of gender bias depends on who you ask.

FOX19 Legal Analyst Mike Allen says yes. "There is most definitely gender bias in sentencing for sex offenses between men and women," he said.

Allen says the bias is most striking when it comes to teachers charged with having sex with their students.

"Its been documented, even in the federal system where you have federal guidelines," he said. "There is still that disparity. Its something that we're seeing more and more of. The female teachers usually get probation or next to no jail time and the male teachers almost always go to prison. There is a huge disparity."

Allen says the disparity favors women. "If you're a male teacher and you have sex with a 15 year-old or a 14 year-old they're going to put you under the prison there's no question about it. When the roles are reversed there's usually a good shot at probation or a very light sentence."

Criminal defense attorney Mark Krumbein says that's not necessarily so.

"If you look at Stacy Schuler's case you have five victims. These are high school boys 17 and 18 year olds. I think in that case the judge gave a few years in prison, but let her out after one year, but I would say that would be a fair sentence," he said.

Krumbein says Matthew Hermann's case was a different story.

"That also was a fair sentence. He got 26 years," he said. "He was grooming these girls....they're just 12 to 14 years old. He's having them text pictures of their genitals over the Internet to him. He's grooming them for two or three years so I think you can see some important distinctions that really aren't based on the gender of the defendant they're really based on how bad how bad the acts of the defendant."

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