Volume 95, Issue 64

Friday, January 25, 2002
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No excuse

Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Board 2001-2002

No excuse

While Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" was a smash hit in the 80s, a new version of the tale is currently topping the British charts.

Amy Gehring, a graduate of Western's Althouse College, has been the main course in a media feeding frenzy after being accused of engaging in sexual relations with four different minors.

There are clearly questions that need to be asked.

First, what could possess a 26-year-old teacher to seduce 14 and 15-year-olds?

As a member of a profession in which appropriate behavior around children is clearly dictated during training, Gehring should have never put herself in a situation where she could have been accused of such a thing in the first place. The explanation provided is the age-old and wholly transparent excuse of intoxication.

Drunkeness cannot be upheld as an acceptable defence, especially in a case involving sex with impressionable minors.

The boys involved may maintain the "I scored with the teacher," locker-room mentality for awhile, but this incident could quite easily scar them psychologically for the rest of their lives.

In the future, a simple question regarding their first sexual experience could result in serious embarassment and the experience may place them in other awkward social situations in later years.

The second pertinent question is why do the allegations against this woman seem to be more of a Penthouse joke than the serious sexual offences they are?

The story has been covered as a case of amusing consentual sex rather than molestation. A man in the same situation would be dubbed 'a monster' and hunted by every torch and pitchfork-wielding mob in the land.

Instead, Gehring is touted as a disturbed teacher who merely screwed up (no pun intended).

While members of the British media seem to focus on Gehring's Western roots, we must remember this is not the first troubled individual to call our university home. Our school has produced other odd ducks, like Philippe Rushton, the elusive naked masturbator and Sheila Copps.

It is almost understandable that Western students can retain a comical outlook on this story in light of "recent imagined" assault cases, but we cannot allow any form of sexual abuse to become a laughing matter.

Since some of the boys did not seem very opposed to the encounters, according to reports, some tabloids in the United Kingdom are calling this just plain sex, instead of allegations of sexual assault.

Whatever occured between Gehring and the three boys remains to be seen, since the court has yet to reach a decision. Regardless of whether the allegations against Gehring are substantiated or not, sex crimes should not be tolerated.

If we do not see the legal, ethical and educational ramifications of this case in the midst of a tabloid three-ring circus, we certainly will once the big top has a new act.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001