An increasing number of female teachers across the United States are being arrested, tried and convicted as sex predators, often taking advantage of minors they meet at the schools they work in. Their tactics and motivations differ from case to case, but there is one commonality – these women often present themselves as respectful and thoughtful, but are suffering from deeply rooted personality disorders.

Female Teachers Are Being Convicted as Sex Predators Across the U.S.

The parents and families of young children and teens likely look for clear signs pointing to possible sex predators – including location – but female teachers who abuse minors are being arrested across the United States. An investigation conducted by The Daily Mail and released in April 2024 found that at least 25 women have been arrested on sex crime charges within the last year alone, their victims ranging in age, proximity and severity.

Female Teacher Sex Predators Are Often White Women in Their 30s

Though cases vary, the most common physical profile of a female teacher sex predator is a white woman in her 30s. Stacy Kaiser, a licensed psychotherapist and expert in criminal psychology, analyzed the results for the publication and presented a number of cases where the typical predator was involved.

Jessica Sawicki was a 37-year-old married teacher from New Jersey when she was arrested in March 2024. She was found half-naked in a teenager’s car, which was parked in a private wildlife center. Sawicki told police that she and the teenager in question had “unprotected” sex at least five times, and was charged with five counts of second-degree sexual assault and five counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. She was eventually released while awaiting trial so she could care for her children. The case is still ongoing as of publication.

Alissa McCommon, a 38 year old teaching the fourth grade in Tennessee, was arrested in September 2023, eventually pleading not guilty to 23 sex charges. She was initially accused of raping a 12-year-old boy, but her charges increased as police discovered more than 20 additional victims. McCommon’s trial is ongoing as of publication, and voicemails presented in court suggest that she could be pregnant with the minor victim’s child.

“Our goal in any of these investigations is to identify any potential victims and provide medical assistance, counseling and support for their families throughout the investigation,” Covington Police Chief Donna Turner said in a March 2024 statement amid McCommon’s trial. “Without this vital intervention, the ripple effect of trauma can last for years with the victims and the family unit.”

High school math teacher Tracy Vanderhulst was also arrested in 2023, with police claiming at the time that she had raped a 16-year-old student. She was named “Teacher of the Year” at her high school in 2017.

Female Teacher Sex Predators Often Think They Haven’t Committed a Crime

In her analysis of individual cases and larger predatory patterns, Kaiser concluded that a number of female teachers who are sex predators often think they haven’t committed any kind of crime. An unnamed incarcerated woman Kaiser worked with admitted that she was proud of herself for being “sensitive and caring” to the minor boys she abused, claiming that she made them “feel safe.” Kaiser pushed back on her assertion, but the woman maintained that “it never felt” like a crime to her.

Female Teacher Sex Predators’ Tactics

The tactics of female teacher sex predators vary, but according to Kaiser, many of them use social media as a means to connect with their victims outside a classroom setting. For example, Missouri math teacher Hailey Nichelle Clifton-Carmack used social media to post provocative photos of herself, allowing minors to interact with her content. She was arrested in January 2024 for allegedly having sex with a student.

Mary Kay Letourneau’s Case Gives Insight on Predators’ Emotional Involvement With Victims

One of the most famous cases of a female teacher abusing a student is Mary Kay Letourneau and her involvement with student Vili Fualaau, who was just 12 years old when they started a sexual relationship. Letourneau, who was a married mom of four at the time, was convicted of rape and spent three months in prison. Once out of prison, she violated her parole and reconnected with Fualaau, eventually being put back behind bars for more than seven years on second-degree child rape charges.

Letourneau fell pregnant with her student’s child and gave birth in May 1997. She was released from prison yet again in January 1998 after only serving six additional months, but was once again caught with a then 14-year-old Fualaau. She was thrown back in jail, though had already become pregnant with Fualaau’s second child.

The former teacher was released from jail in 2004, and she and Fualaau got married in 2005. Their union was fraught, and they eventually divorced in 2019 after a period of separation. Letourneau died from stage 4 cancer in 2020, while Fualaau moved on with an unidentified significant other. Letourneau’s former student struggled, however, and admitted to alcohol abuse in suicidal depression later in life.

Male Victims of Female Teachers Suffer From Abuse Effects

As Kaiser pointed out for The Daily Mail, the experiences of male sex abuse victims are largely dismissed – or even made fun of – in society today. From Saturday Night Live punchlines to news anchors’ misguided takes, male victims are often not given the platform to share their experiences or the resources to take steps toward healing.

“These attitudes are misguided – and hold the public back from addressing this dangerous subset of sex abuse,” Kaiser asserted, adding, “For the victims, the psychological damage can manifest as depression, low self-esteem, anxiety and suicidal ideation.”

Sex Abuse Signs Parents Should Look Out for

The signs of minor sexual abuse vary, but Kaiser determined that parents should be aware of “dramatic changes” in their children’s behavior.

“While all teenagers exhibit mood swings – sudden negative changes such as excessive secret-keeping and social withdrawal is a cause for concern that must not be ignored,” she analyzed. “Above all else, caregivers must be aware of any adult whom their child spends an inordinate amount of time with.”

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