A Judge Without Judgement – A Child Without Justice: On The Stuart Kerner Sentence. (CN)

A young 15 year old girl gets a crush on a teacher. She makes her crush known to the teacher concerned, a married man who has one child with his wife and another on the way. Instead of making sensible choices in order to protect the child, he chooses instead to use the girl’s crush and abuse her trust in him: he has sex with her (a problem because she is 15 and he is an adult) at the school and at his home. Because she has a crush on the teacher, the girl believes the activity to be acceptable. She wants to ‘feel special’ – like many young vulnerable girls, she wants to feel loved. She ascribes romantic ideals to the ‘relationship’ and says it was ‘written in the stars’.

Then someone finds out (because in a school nothing stays hidden for long), and the police get involved.

The teacher denies it and calls the girl a liar. Her ‘friends’ call her a ‘stalker’. The judge calls her manipulative, and also says that she is a ‘stalker’ who groomed the teacher.

The teacher is described as a ‘well respected man’, of ‘exemplary character’, that he was ‘under pressure’ and ‘gave in to temptation’.

And once again the sympathy, focus and attention is given to the abuser, whilst adults who should know better think that the child who was exploited by the adult because of her crush is somehow in possession of special powers; that she is, in fact, assumed to have power because  of the adults desire to exploit her.  She is not understood as, treated as or respected for being the victim.

The teacher is even affirmed by the judge, and the media frame the abusive, exploitative behaviour of an adult male as an affair – as a forbidden relationship that got found out.

She was 15. If anyone truly believes that a grown man’s desire to exploit her for his personal benefit somehow gives her ‘power’ in that dynamic, then you need to ask yourself why you think that.

The sentence is now under review.