Mollee Steely Smith, Ph.D., is a National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Translational Training in Addiction Program and a member of the Health and Legal System (HEALS) Lab at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Her research focuses on the intersection of health and the legal system. Much of her work has focused on trauma exposure and victimization, specifically among men and women who perpetrate sexual offenses, and its influence on the perpetration of sexual offenses.
Despite the increased media attention of teachers who engage in sexual misconduct with their students, research on such incidents remains limited, specifically on how these incidents are initiated and evolve. The purpose of the current study was to examine the nature of sexual abuse incidents by K-12 teachers who engaged in sexual misconduct with students by focusing on the onset, progression, and conclusion of these cases. Data included 10 secondary narrative interviews with male sex offenders who used their position as school employees to target and engage in sexual misconduct with their students in 2014 in a southern state. All offenders were interviewed and assessed for risk and community notification purposes, and the narrative interviews were obtained from the offenders' correctional casefile. Based on narratives from both victims and offenders, the manner in which sexual misconduct is initiated varies by the victim's age. Incidents of sexual misconduct began through the use of technology among older students. For younger students, incidents of sexual misconduct started with inappropriate sexual contact in the classroom. Incidents continued to progress through manipulated opportunities to be alone with the victim and bribery. Incidents were likely to end when reported to law enforcement or school administration. Overall, findings can help inform educational policy regarding recognition and appropriate responses to prevent future sexual misconduct incidents.
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Steely Smith, Mollee (2023) "The Process of Sexual Misconduct by Male Teachers and Staff in K-12 Institutions," Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence: Vol. 8: Iss. 1, Article 2. https://doi.org/10.23860/dignity.2023.08.01.02
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