Chronophilia is a fairly obscure general term, applied to any age-related preference.So it seems that ephebophilia is the most specific scientific term describing the age of the younger sex partner -- as adolescent rather than pre-adolescent -- in the recent school teacher cases. However, it just hasn't caught on with the public. Pedophilia, though originally used to describe sexual activity between an adult and a pre-pubertal child, has also come to describe behavior legally prohibited between sexually physically mature individuals not only because of age differences but also because the sex partners are in a secondary school teacher-student relationship of public trust or a mother-of-a friend relationship of private trust, both resulting in improper delegated supervision and sexual exploitation.
Ephebophilia is the attraction of older individuals to adolescents, a phenomenon generally not assigned a separate term in most cultures unless it is between adult males and adolescent boys.
Infantophilia is the attraction of older individuals to small children (ages ranging from 0 to 5).
Pedophilia is the attraction of older individuals to pre-adolescents.
Teleiophilia, a generally unused term, is the attraction of younger individuals to older individuals.
Gerontophilia is the rarely seen attraction of non-elderly individuals to the elderly.
Of these, pedophilia has attracted a great deal of attention in the western media, especially since popular use has merged the concept of ephebophilia with that of pedophilia, which has become known as attraction to any individual considered too young to consent to sexual relations. Widely-varying age of consent laws have been passed to deter adults from entering sexual relationships with underage minors.
I have written earlier on the history of "The Age of Consent." Susan Estrich has written on the case involving a recent Texas statute prohibiting secondary school teacher-student sex even if the student is 18. While the maximum sentence under that statute sounds excessive, I agree with Susan on this issue. See if you do. In 1997, my state passed the first version of an innovative such statute prohibiting "sexual battery by an authority figure" on a victim below the age of consent and punishing it two classes more severely than sexual battery on an adult or the more traditional offense of statutory rape:
(a) Sexual battery by an authority figure is unlawful sexual contact with a victim by the defendant, or the defendant by a victim, accompanied by the fact that the victim was, at the time of the offense, thirteen (13) years of age or older, but less than eighteen (18) years of age, and either:It is instructive that this is the statute that the Tennessee District Attorney General in the Pamela Rogers Turner case used in her plea bargain. I'm more fascinated by Pamela than the other female pedophiles, quite frankly because she was so hot in the cell phone video that was among the things that got her re-arrested for violation of probation. Debra LaFave is a looker too; but prosecutors in her case in Florida have gotten grief for showing her more leniency than would have been given a male offending against a young female victim. Cathy Young has been weighing in on the "Double Standard: The bias against male victims of sexual abuse" since 2002. Wikipedia has more on the double standard problem.
(1) The defendant was, at the time of the offense, in a position of trust, or had supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the defendant's legal, professional or occupational status, and used such position of trust or power to accomplish the sexual contact; or
(2) The defendant had, at the time of the offense, parental or custodial authority over the victim and used such authority to accomplish the sexual contact.
(b) Sexual battery by an authority figure is a Class C felony.
Trying to wrap my mind around the psychology of these offenders is even more difficult. When I was in high school, I thought some of my female classmates were really hot. Now, girls that age look like babies to me. Perhaps as we go down the scale from ephebophilia to pedophilia to infantophilia, we're seeing increasingly faulty sexual "wiring." What else characterizes these offenders? Even large age disparities in sexual relationships have been tolerated when they were known and approved by the families involved and by their society at the time, whereas the relationships that have been in the news were characterized by stealth. Some of the women involved appear lonely and opportunistic; but others had existing marriages. Even if we accept marital problems as a trigger, why replace an age-similar mate with one much younger and legally forbidden? The thrill of forbidden fruit, a lack of emotional maturity, and abuse of sexual and supervisory power appear to be factors.
The Nashville Tennessean, being the closest metropolitan newspaper to the Rogers case, had a couple of good articles on this dimension of these cases which I hope they will leave online. "Ex-teacher sent teen naked pics" has a chronology, some captures of Pamela's MySpace site, and text messages she sent to the boy. Subtitled "Boy's mom urges Rogers to leave their family alone," that article deals with the added danger of foreclosure of a boy's choices when romanced by a significantly older woman serving her own purposes despite the legal risks. The second article compares the case of Mary Kay Letourneau to make the case that "Sex abuse of boys not only trait duo share" and brings in some experts to discuss common factors to watch out for if you don't want your child to be subjected to this from an older authority figure:
New York Magazine has more facts about more of these cases in its excellent, lengthy, feature article, "Dirty Old Women."
UPDATE: "Former Teacher Loses Appeal On Rape Conviction" and the reported case in .pdf (45-year consecutive sentencing upheld in male-male case).
UPDATES: More coverage from the Tennessean, "Rogers indicted on four new charges"; "Teacher in student-sex case sent to prison for seven years":
Pamela J. Rogers, a former teacher at Centertown Elementary School, offered a tearful apology in court this afternoon, saying she was sorry she had hurt the victim, had embarrassed her family and had destroyed her career.and "7-year term jolts a tearful Rogers," with courtroom photo gallery. For those not familiar with the "new" concept of sex addiction: read this book.
. . . .
A mental health professional testified on Rogers' behalf today that the former teacher is addicted to sex. In that case, the judge later said, she should have sought help for her addiction after her release from jail.
UPDATE: Another Tennessee "Former Teacher Sentenced For Sex With Student."
UPDATE: Video! "NBC's Matt Lauer sits down with notorious teacher Debra LaFave."
UPDATE: "Former teacher gets jail time for sex with student."
UPDATE: "Inside Pamela Rogers: A Nashville psychologist with access to the disgraced teacher offers insight."
UPDATE: Ex-Teacher Imprisoned For Sex With Minor Agrees To 2 More Years.
UPDATE: GREENVILLE, S.C. - A 23-year-old former teacher accused of having sex with five teenage boys was released from jail Friday after her father posted her bail.
Allena Williams Ward will be confined to her home, able to leave only for church and lawyer visits, and must wear an electronic monitor. She also must have no contact with the boys with whom she was accused of having sex.
According to arrest warrants, Ward, who is married, had sexual encounters in the past three months with the 14- and 15-year-old boys at Bell Street Middle School, at a motel, in a park and behind a restaurant.
UPDATE: Mother Says Teacher Had Affair With Son Before He Was Shot. Teacher Accused of Sex With Teen Attempts Suicide.
UPDATE: ABC News "S.C. Teachers Accused of Sex With Boys" and Accused Female Sex Offenders slide show.
UPDATE: Teacher gets 6 years for sex with teens.
UPDATE: Hearing Officer Opposes Parole for Elementary Teacher Who had Sex With 13 Year-old Student. (Pamela Sue Rogers [Turner]); Parole Board turns Pamela down. 2014 seems like an excessive setoff.
UPDATE: "Ripley, Tennessee Teacher Accused of Having Sex With Students" (female homosexual allegations). "Foster mothers accused in statutory rape of teen" (heterosexual allegations).
UPDATE: Woman has sex with student, 15, plus 7 friends (boys); (female) Teacher, 60, Arrested for Sex With Teens (boys); Lesson Lost on Teacher? 3rd Sex Rap.
UPDATE: Child Sex Charges, Former Teacher gets 50-years in Prison; Teacher Accused of Rape of 14 Year-Old Boy in Tennessee; Woman Sentenced for Sex Crime Against Teen Girl in Mississippi.