Sex abuse survivor: Male victims no different than female victims
By TERENCE CORCORAN
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original Publication: May 17, 2007)
For more information on male sexual victims, visit the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization at: http://www.malesurvivor.org
SOMERS - Whenever a female teacher is accused of having sexual contact with a male student - as was the case last week with Lakeland High School social studies teacher Stephanie Gross - comments are invariably made about how lucky the student is, especially if the teacher is considered attractive.
Somers resident Curtis St. John said he cringes when he hears those cavalier remarks.
St. John, 38, is president-elect of MaleSurvivor: the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. He said that society and the media need to understand that boys who are sexually victimized by older women are just that -victims. St. John was 10 when he was abused by a male.
"You may find that in 10 years this young man, or others in similar situations, will grow up with alcohol issues, relationship issues and anger issues but will never look at the root cause," St. John said yesterday, the same day that Gross, 24, of Mohegan Lake pleaded not guilty in Elmsford Village Court to having sexual contact with a 16-year-old boy inside a parked car.
"When they try to figure out why they're self-medicating at age 30, they won't look at the cause - that they were victimized sexually -because the media and their friends have been telling them how lucky they were," St. John said. "Many of these victims will grow up with the same issues as victims of male offenders."
Gross, who lost her teaching job Monday, is the latest in a string of cases nationwide where older women, often teachers, have been accused or convicted of having improper sexual relations with minor boys, often their students.
The most notorious is, perhaps, Mary Kay Letourneau, a teacher in Washington state who was 34 and married with children when she had sex with her 12-year-old student. She was convicted of statutory rape and served several years in state prison before being discharged. She later married the boy.
Recently in New York, the 40-year-old headmistress of an exclusive Manhattan Montessori School was sentenced to 14 years in state prison after she was convicted of having seduced two of her male students - one in 1996 when he was 13 and the second in 2001 when he was 12. The Ossining school district was ordered by a federal jury in 2004 to pay $375,000 to a former star high school basketball player for failing to properly supervise a school secretary who had a two-year affair with him.
St. John, director of operations at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, SUNY, recalled hearing Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" commenting on the Letourneau case.
"He said, 'We'll call her Mary Kay and we'll call him Lucky.' But would he speak like that if we were talking about a 34-year-old man and a 13-year-old girl?" St. John said.