Female sex offenders still minority in Florida - WFLA News Channel 8

Female sex offenders still minority in Florida

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Clinical Sex Therapist Dr. Barbara Cook talks to News Channel 8's Yolanda Fernandez about why teachers prey on their students for sex. Clinical Sex Therapist Dr. Barbara Cook talks to News Channel 8's Yolanda Fernandez about why teachers prey on their students for sex.
Clinical Sex Therapist Dr. Barbara Cook Clinical Sex Therapist Dr. Barbara Cook

When Hillsborough school teacher Debra Lafave hit the news in 2004 for having sex with a 14-year-old student it captured the nation's attention.

Now, women having sexual relationships with teen boys is more common in the headlines. In recent cases, a Pasco mom was convicted of having sex with a 16-year-old boy and a Polk teacher was also charged with having sex with a minor.

"These cases are now more easily discovered, usually by the parent seeing an inappropriate picture or text on a child's cell phone," said Dr. Barbara Cook, a Tampa clinical sex therapist. She explained why a beautiful woman, who could have a list of interested men, would prey on boys.

"They may still not feel in control with their other same-age relationships, but with the younger male they can feel in control," said Cook.

There are still far fewer female sex offenders, than their male counterparts. In Florida there are 57,000 male registered sex offenders while only 1,200 are female.

Dr. Cook says in most cases, the women sex offenders are often neighbors, teachers, and babysitters, or somebody of authority in a trusted environment.

Female offenders are often perceived differently by society. A double standard that angers the family of a recent male victim in Pasco County.

"A child is a child, he's different. He's sick everyday, he has to go through counseling. She preyed on him," said Jessica. WFLA is not revealing her name to protect the identity of the victim.

She argues the damage female sex offenders do to their young victims often lasts longer than their jail sentence.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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