Thursday, 27 June 2013

What a difference a day makes!

The "day" in this case being the day of one's sixteenth birthday, when - amongst other things - sex becomes legal.  And that's the interesting facet of this story, which in other respects bears striking similarities to the Jeremy Forrest saga which I wrote about in my last entry.  The whole tone of the reporting is different: schoolteacher Emma Ager is not described as a 'paedophile' nor even a 'pervert' (she did, after all, turn down the request for a threesome).  The teenage boy pupil is not a 'victim', nor was he 'abused' - he simply became a "legend" when the inevitable happened and all his mates found out.  And neither was he 'groomed': after all, "I bet you won't be able to keep up with me during sex" is hardly the subtlest chat-up line to use.  Admittedly they didn't run away to France together when his mother got suspicious about the phone calls and told the school - the whole thing in fact seems to have not been a "relationship" in any meaningful sense of the word.

But it was illegal: she was a teacher at his school, he was a pupil under 18 - the whole "abuse of trust" scenario is plain to see, and she quite rightly has now been struck off for it.  She has not, however, as the commentators on the article have been quick to point out, ended up in jail.  Admittedly prosecutions for sexual offences are largely contingent on the alleged victim(s) filing a complaint, and the boy seems to me to have had no obvious reason to make one, since he both started and finished the affair.  Furthermore it's only just now surfaced, six years after the event.

Despite all that I may perhaps be forgiven for wondering if it doesn't stink ever so slightly of double standards - especially with the top-rated comments being along the lines of "lucky lad"?           

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Pour encourager les autres?

Back in the autumn of last year, I wrote about the news story which had hit the headlines - the maths teacher by the name of Jeremy Forrest who'd fled to France with his 15-year old girl pupil.  I'd better not link to it, because I'm no longer legally allowed to name her, despite the fact that like everyone else I could and did back then.

Nine months on, the wheels of justice have turned inexorably on, and after a two-week trial the sentence handed down on Friday was five-and-a-half years imprisonment.  What?  You get less than that for killing someone.  Having said that, it was rather telling, I thought, that the initial charge of child abduction for which the jury found him guilty only accounted for a year of the sentence.  Perhaps even the learned judge thought it rather quaint to "abduct" a willing participant who testified in Court that she pretty much called the shots in the whole episode.  But alas, their undoing appears to have been the fact that not only had they had illicit sex on multiple occasions before the fateful ferry trip, they hadn't been altogether overly discreet about it.  I mean, come on now.... if you go bragging to your mates that you were 'at it' eight times in one night, and store photos on your phone, don't be surprised if someone drops you in it.  The icing on the prosecution's cake.

And of course, the coup de grĂ¢ce was that it was her teacher who'd crossed the line, broken all the rules and "betrayed the trust".  Had it been another pupil, there'd have been a bit of aggravation but on nothing like the same scale, and it probably wouldn't even have ended up in Court - any more than the thousands of other older boys who have underage sex.  The prosecutor predictably enough then went for the jugular by labelling the defendant a paedophile, and it's a pity the judge didn't see fit to correct him, if only for the jury's benefit, by pointing out that the term when used correctly describes sexual interest in pre-pubescent children.

Not like Romeo and Juliet, then?  I failed O level English Literature so I wouldn't know.  But Juliet appears in this case to have been supporting her Romeo almost to the extent of being what I think the Americans would term a 'hostile witness'.  And in a Sun exclusive *where else* she declares she's still in love, was capable all along of making her own decisions and will wait for her Romeo's release.

Knock off the nine months he spent on remand, and with automatic release on licence halfway through the sentence, by which time she'll have turned 18 and be free to do as she pleases.  Is the love story then going to have a happy ending?  I wonder.....