The plethora of female teachers charged with sexual misconduct with their male students is now such a common news headline that playwright Linda Felton Steinbaum was compelled to write her new play, Mustang Sally, which addresses the intriguing similarities of the families of the perpetrators. “To say these families are dysfunctional is an understatement,” says Linda. “And so many of them! It’s shocking how young the majority of the victims are. Most assume that if a female teacher finds herself in an inappropriate relationship with an underage boy, he must be very mature and manly. Not so. Almost fifty percent of these boys are 13 or younger.”
Los Angeles Theatre audiences have been barraged with headlines and news stories of female teachers and sex crimes such as: Joan Marie Sladky with a 16-year old, Lakina Stutts, age 40 with a 14 year old student, Deana Bobo 37, sex with 14 year old, Bethany Sherrill 24 with 14 year old, Susan Eble 35 — 14 year old, Tara Lynn Crisp 29 — 14 year old, Debra LaFave with a 14 year old boy, Kelly Lynn Dalecki 28 with 13 year old boy, Sherry Brians 41– with a 12 year old, Pamela Turner 27 — 13 year old boy, Mary Kay Letourneau was 34 when she had sex with a 12 year old, Carol Flannigan 50 — 11 year old former student – and we dare not leave out Laura Lynn Findlay who pleaded guilty to 22 counts of criminal sexual activity with 8th grade band students! That makes each victim around age 13. The list seems endless – all were teachers.
Linda studied the family structure of female teachers who find themselves involved in sexual misconduct (statutory rape) with their male students. According to Harry Krop, a licensed psychologist in Gainesville, FL, “The motivation for adult women who form a sexual relationship with boys is different than men who develop relationships with girls. Men who have sex with girls tend to have sexual disorders, such as pedophilia. But for women, it’s not about the sex, but rather the romance. It’s more of a need to be desired, to have someone find them attractive and the need for attention,” Krop said in a Gainesville Sun article of 11-17-2005.
“Though the dynamics for female vs. male offenders are different, it’s still a crime if the boy is underage, even if the sex is consensual,” says Ms. Steinbaum. “Boys are often confused by messages they see in movies, TV and the media. They get the repetitive message that if they are presented with an opportunity to have sex, they are somehow required to comply to prove their masculinity. This is even more confusing if the offer comes from a woman in authority.”
Krop agrees. He says, “A sexual relationship with an older woman also causes long-term problems for the young (male) victim. These victims tend to have more psychological damage than young girls,” Krop said. “They have boundary issues and intimacy problems. They are usually vulnerable, and women look for that.”
“We need to protect our sons as well as our daughters,” says Linda. “It disturbs me that this can be so easily dismissed by society, especially because it’s happening more often than you might think. School boards need to put serious deterrents in place to discourage other female teachers who might find themselves ‘drawn’ to their young male students.”
Top theatrical director Arturo Castillo has been secured to lead the world premiere production of Mustang Sally. Arturo has directed in many large Equity venues including the National Theatre in London. We are very excited to have a director with Arturo’s experience committed to this production. I have worked with Arturo before and, like me, he is most excited about new theatrical pieces that have a timely message and can make a real difference in society.