Saturday, May 30, 2009

Teachers Getting Their Groove On With Their Students

What the heck is going on here with these teachers and these young students? Excerpts from AOL and other news services follow, but you can Google them and find the complete articles online.


(1) - A New York City teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student in the classroom was ordered held Friday on $100,000 bail, the New York Post said.
Melissa Weber, 27, a social studies teacher at Middle School/Intermediate School 8 in the borough of Queens, allegedly had sex with the male student seven times between April 13 and May 14, the Post and Daily News reported, citing police. The two allegedly met in the teacher’s classroom between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., when other kids had gone home.

She was arrested Thursday and charged with rape, sexual abuse and child endangerment.
The News said someone at the school tipped off the boy's mother. She checked her son's cell phone and found hundreds of calls and texts from Weber. The last text read, "Erase your phone," prosecutors said.

They said Weber, who lives in West Babylon on Long Island, warned the teen not to tell anyone of their trysts because if word got out, "I could get arrested, and I could lose my teaching license."

(2) Maria Guzman Hernandez, a 32-year-old teacher at a Florida Catholic school, was arrested May 27. She faces charges of sexual battery on a child after she allegedly admitted to police that she had sex with a 15-year-old student. Authorities said the boy's mother knew about the relationship and approved of it, the Miami Herald reported.

(3) A former Tacoma, Wash., elementary school teacher was found guilty on April 20 of having sex with a 10-year-old student and his 15-year-old brother. Jennifer Rice, 33, faces more than 25 years in prison after being convicted of kidnapping, child rape and other charges.

(4) Former Nebraska middle school math teacher Kelsey Peterson was sentenced on April 23 to eight to 10 years in prison for first-degree sexual assault of a minor. Peterson fled to Mexico with a 13-year-old student in October 2007. She will serve the time simultaneously with a six-year federal prison sentence she received in September.

(5) A Massachusetts teacher was charged Feb. 24 with kidnapping a 15-year-old student and taking him to a West Virginia motel where the two were found together, police said. The boy's mother had contacted her son's school on Feb. 13, saying she was concerned about the relationship between Lisa Lavoie, 24, and her child.

(6) Eric McLean was accused of fatally shooting an 18-year-old high school student with whom his wife Erin had an affair. In 2008, Eric McLean was convicted of reckless homicide and was sentenced to 90 days in jail after claiming the shooting was an accident. Erin McLean, a former Tennessee teacher, was sentenced to 95 days in jail as part of her conviction on 17 contempt charges.

(7) Former South Carolina elementary school teacher Wendie Schweikert, 37, pleaded guilty to having sex with an 11-year-old student. In June 2007, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

(8) Former Florida middle school teacher Debra Lafave was sentenced to house arrest and probation in 2005 after pleading guilty to charges that she had sex with a 14-year-old student.

(9) Mary Kay Letourneau served a seven-year sentence in California for having sex with student Vili Fualaau when he was 12. They had two children and wed in 2005 after she was released from prison.

(10) In 2005, former Tennessee gym teacher Pamela Rogers received an eight-year sentence for having sex with a 13-year-old student. She later sent suggestive photos to the boy and got two years added.

(11) In 2005, former California teacher Rebecca Boicelli was sentenced to two years in prison after DNA tests proved her 16-year-old student was the father of her child.

(12) Former New Hampshire teacher Pamela Smart is currently serving a life sentence for plotting to kill her husband. He was shot in 1990 by a then-16-year-old student with whom she had a relationship. (Source: AP, CNN, whnt.com, wbir.com, msnbc.com, foxnews.com)

(13) A Carlsbad substitute teacher who ran off with a teenage boy now faces child rape charges. Melinda Beth Bridges, 31, did not enter a plea at her arraignment Tuesday on a single count. Louisiana police arrested her five days after she disappeared with the 16-year-old boy, a student at Jefferson Montessori Academy where Bridges sometimes taught. The boy's father said the pair had an affair for about a month. The school's principal reported the relationship to Carlsbad police on May 1. The two disappeared the next day.

(14) A former Nebraska teacher who fled to Mexico with a 13-year-old student has entered a guilty plea to transporting a minor across state lines to have sex in a deal that allows her to avoid a mandatory 10-year sentence. Kelsey Peterson, 26, a former math teacher at Lexington Middle School, is expected to be sentenced to at least 70 months in prison.

After the plea hearing, members of Peterson's family claim that she is being unjustly accused and shouted to reporters to ask the victim, Fernando Rodriguez, how old he really is.

Peterson's family members and her attorney insist that Rodriguez is at least 16 years old. Attorney James Martin Davis has questioned the boy's birth certificate and claims that he is 16 years old and was the aggressor in the relationship.

(15) Two Bountiful Junior High School teachers are accused of sexually assaulting the same 13-year-old student, after their separate relationships with him spiraled from personal conversations to the exchange of sexual text messages and phone sex, authorities said.

On Friday, the Davis County Attorney’s Office filed first-degree felony charges of rape and sodomy on a child against Linda R. Nef, 46, and Valynne Bowers, 39.

Nef, a Utah studies teacher and cheerleading adviser, and Bowers, who teaches math, each confessed to having sex with the student, said Bountiful Police Lt. Randy Pickett.

Until recently, the two teachers did not know about each other’s relationship with the same boy, Pickett said.

(16) A fifth grade teacher in Abington, Massachusetts is facing statutory rape charges after reportedly having sex with a minor more than 300 times. Police arrested 29-year old Christine McCallum late last week after she was accused of having sex with a then 13-year-old boy. The alleged victim is now 16. Prosecutors say the teacher became so obsessed with the teen that she took away his cell phone after he got older and started talking to girls his own age. McCallum, who is married, faces three charges of statutory rape. - from WCBD

Police said Christine A. McCallum, 29, had sex with the student on the boy’s kitchen floor, in the shower and in the living room — all beginning when he was 13-years old, the Boston Herald reported. The alleged victim is now 16. He said he and the teacher had sex “possibly every other day,” a police report said. - from UPI

(17) Kelly Ann Abdo, a former math teacher and volleyball coach, was arraigned yesterday on charges of indecent exposure and having sex with a student in Monroe County, Michigan.

Abdo was accused of having sex with a student in a car outside of a house party with a number of minors in attendance. Students at the party told the prosecutor in the case that their actions were in plain sight and that they witnessed the pair naked in the car together.

Monroe County Prosecutor William Nichols’ office said Abdo is accused of having sex with the student in a car on a public street, next to a house where there was a high school party. Other students told the prosecutor’s office that they saw the two naked in the car.

Ms. Abdo, who married in 2007, has been a math teacher at the high school for four years. As the volleyball coach, she led the Trojans to only their second District title in school history and their first since 1991 in her first year at the helm in 2007.

But that success accompanied some problems. Several parents and players wrote letters to school officials and the board of education complaining about Ms. Abdo’s coaching methods. According to school officials only one of the players was coached by Ms. Abdo; the others were on the junior varsity team. Conversely, a number of parents support Ms. Abdo and her coaching methods.

At least one parent hired an attorney to look into the matter. That lawyer, Jean Ledwith King of Ann Arbor, said there is no lawsuit filed on behalf of the parents. She said she was hired as an adviser for actions that she referred to as “inappropriate for a coach.”

(18) A Mentor teacher appeared in court Thursday on charges that she had a sexual relationship with a student. Maggie L. Laughlin, 23, of Willowick, was a math teacher at Shore Junior High School. Police said Laughlin was arrested on Wednesday, accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy during the last two weeks of school.

The sex took place in the teacher's classroom, police said.

"This crime is a devastating betrayal of the fundamental trust that parents put in their children's teachers every day," said Dr. Jackqueline Hoynes, superintendent of schools.

"Individuals who use their position of authority and trust to prey upon children must face the full force of the law."

Laughlin was charged with sexual battery, a felony of the third degree, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a felony of the fourth degree.

The case is under investigation.

Mentor School officials said they found out about the alleged relationship last week and immediately contacted police.

Laughlin resigned on June 9 after being at employed by the district for less than a year.

(19) Leanne Macklin, the 26 year old former drama teacher at Weaver Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17 year old male student.

Allegedly, Macklin and the boy engaged in oral sex, presumably reciting a part in the 21st century version of Romeo and Juliet, at her apartment. The first incident is reported to have happened in December of 2006.

Macklin has been charged with 5 counts of sexual activity between school personnel and a student. She turned herself in and was released after posting a $25,000 bond.

(20) 35 year old Stacey Goodloe, an instructional aide for special needs students at Ceres High School, in Ceres, California has been accused of sexually abusing a male student.

Goodloe was arrested and charged with being older than 21 and having intercourse with someone younger than 16, being older than 21 and participating in oral sex with someone younger than 16, and committing a lewd or lascivious act with a 14- or 15-year-old, all of which are felonies.

(21) Rita Brum, 24 year old physical education teacher at Mt. Pleasant High School in East San Jose, California has been arrested after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17 year old girl, a student at Mt. Pleasent High.

Brum and the girl allegedly began their relationship early in the school year in 2008, and it is reported that in December of 2008 the two began kissing and then their relationship turned to that of a fully sexual one.

The girl's mother found a love letter to her daughter that was reportedly addressed from Brum, and after confronting her daughter about it, the girl reportedly admitted to having a sexual relationship with the physical education teacher Brum.

It is further alleged that the girl's mother accosted Brum at a sporting event, including pulling the teacher's hair.

Brum was released on a $15,000 bond and has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of yet another California school sex scandal. Brum’s attorney has been quoted as saying he is looking “to get the best plea deal possible” for his client.

(22) Jada Hendrix, the former 23 year old honors english teacher at North DeSoto High School in Stonewall, Louisiana, has reportedly been arrested on one count of molestation of a juvenile and another count of computer aided solicitation of a juvenile.

It is alleged that Hendrix sent sexually explicit text messages via cell phone to a 16 year old male student. It is further alleged that Hendrix had a sexual relationship with the boy, which is said to have occurred at her home.

Hendrix was investigated after her boyfriend discovered the text messages that he believed were sent to the student, and alerted police officers. Subsequently, Hendrix turned herself into the authorities.

Hendrix has also reportedly resigned from the school. She is free on $10,000 bond.

(23) Abigail Anne Holloway, a teacher at Saint Mary’s Academy in Englewood, Colorado is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 13 year old female student. Holloway is being charged with multiple counts of child abuse that are sexual in nature, according to her arrest warrant.

Holloway was formerly a teacher at a Christian Prep School in Sunnyvale, California, Kings Academy. It is there where the alleged sexual relationship with the 13 year old girl started, and allegedly lasted for years. Holloway left the Kings Academy in 2003 to work for several other schools in Santa Clara County, California until 2005, when she left California for Colorado.

Holloway is facing an extradition hearing to be returned back to California to face the charges. Reportedly police became aware of the allegations in December 2008, and are investigating the possibility of more victims.

The evidence against Holloway seems pretty air-tight, after the girl provided a 2 and a half inch thick binder full of love letters, cards, and poems that the girl says are all from Holloway. The girl also provided an email sent from Holloway's email address, which states “For the longest time, I felt like maybe I had tricked you into our relationship somehow. It was very real to me, and the best time of my life so far.”

The email was reportedly a follow-up to a call between the girl and Holloway which the police just so happened to be recording. Police say that during the call Holloway mentioned their sexual encounters.

(24) Sheila Vazquez, 8th grade teacher at The Renaissance School in Warren Township, Indiana has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with a student.

It is alleged that back in February 2008, the 15 year old male student mentioned to Vazquez that he was bored. According to the boy, she replied “I’ll give you something to keep you busy.”

On May 1st, 2008, it is alleged that Vazquez took the boy home for lunch. And she was on the menu. It is further reported that several times the two met in the classroom for kisses and hugs.

Vazquez has been suspended from the school.

(25) Tamara Hofmann, a 48-year-old teacher in East Valley, Arizona, has been the center of a "love" triangle that has ended in the death of a former student. In reality, it was more of a "sex" triangle.

The story is carried in the East Valley Tribune written by Gary Grado and Mike Sakal of the Tribune. Their article, "Teacher in deadly love triangle had been disciplined by former school, tells about the escapades of Tamara Hofmann that have left one man dead and has virtually ended her teaching career.

In 2006 she was let go from her teaching job at Marcos de Niza High School after she was found in a questionable situation with then student 17-year-old Sixto Balbueno.

After being let go from this position she took a job at El Dorado High School which is an at-risk charter school. She then picked up where she left off beginning a relationship with 18-year-old Samuel Valdivia.

As an aside, Hofmann was going through a messy divorce from 2007.

Valdivia was phoned by Hofmann late in the evening as reported by his family who claim they did not know he was seeing Hofmann.

Balbueno had joined the Navy and came home on leave. He called Hofmann and got no response so he went over to her home. Failing to get a response, he let himself into the home where he heard Valdivia and Hofmann in the bedroom. They took refuge in the bathroom.

At that point Balbueno forced his way in and finding them in various states of undress stabbed Valdivia and beat Hofmann.

Balbueno claimed he only wanted to hurt Valdevia.

He is in jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Hofmann's academic career is notable in that she received a Master's degree in 2003 with a 4.0 average.

The investigation into Hofmann's activities was slowed down by the unwillingness of Balbueno to cooperate.

Historically when interviewed about her activities by the school, she said that she felt like the student (in this case Balbueno) was more a member of the family than a student.

It is interesting but the one incident I knew of when I was in school was never made public. There was not overt sex perhaps that is why. However, no doubt what was going on was amoral if not illegal.

(26) This one is from Tampabay.com
Wallace and Lafave: Similar cases, different sentences
Several factors may have affected punishments for two ex-teachers.

By COLLEEN JENKINS and ABBIE VANSICKLE, Times Staff Writers

Published December 6, 2007

TAMPA -- One mother wanted the attention to go away.
The other wanted the abuser to pay with prison.

Attorney Joe Bodiford says their influence is the key to why two high-profile Hillsborough teacher-student sex cases ended with one woman locked up Wednesday and the other avoiding jail.

In the most publicized case, former Greco Middle School teacher and model-perfect blond Debra Lafave got three years of house arrest and seven years of probation after pleading guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old boy.

On Wednesday, a judge sentenced Bodiford's client, former Wharton High School teacher and coach Jaymee Wallace, to three years in prison and three years of probation. She had pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge J. Rogers Padgett handed down Wallace's sentence after hearing from the victim's mother.

"You preyed on my daughter," the mother said to Wallace. "I do forgive you, but, at the same time, I want justice."

So do the wishes of victims and their families really dictate a case's outcome? Or did the fact that Lafave's lawyer argued that she was "too pretty for prison" earn her a pass on hard time, while Wallace's homosexual trysts brought her a harsher fate?

The St. Petersburg Times asked local legal experts to weigh in.

Most agreed that, more and more, judges and prosecutors are considering the opinions of the victim and victim's family before levying punishment.

"Absolutely the victim's mother or the victim's family is going to impact the court," said Roberta Flowers, a former prosecutor who teaches at Stetson University College of Law.

But the prosecutor who handled Wallace's case said the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office also makes an independent sentencing recommendation based on the facts of each case.

In the Wallace case, that meant siding with the victim's parents over the wishes of the victim.

At a hearing in October, the teen asked a judge to spare her teacher time behind bars. Her parents said Wednesday that a probation-only sentence would be "a slap on the wrist."

Prosecutor Kimberly Hindman suggested the three-year prison term and wouldn't budge, Bodiford said.

Wallace refused the offer and took her chances with Padgett, who once equated sentencing with "retribution" in an interview with the Times, but is known to be a fair-minded jurist.

Wallace will likely serve about 21/2 years in prison under the state's 85 percent rule.

Prosecutors initially insisted on the same prison term for Lafave. But in her case, the victim's mother eventually said she would accept house arrest to avoid her son having to endure the media glare of a trial.

Prosecutors and defense attorney John Fitzgibbons ultimately reached a plea agreement that allowed Lafave to avoid incarceration.

On Tuesday, after serving two years of house arrest without incident, Lafave was arrested on a charge that she violated her probation. According to authorities, she had been having intimate conversations with a 17-year-old co-worker at Danny Boys' Restaurant in Sun City Center, in violation of her sentence, which prohibits her from having unsupervised contact with a child under 18.

Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman JoEllyn Rackleff said Tuesday that Lafave told the 17-year-old she knew she could get in trouble by talking to her. Fitzgibbons said he had no knowledge of that account.

That violation means a judge could sentence her to prison after all. Through a receptionist, Fitzgibbons declined to comment Wednesday about whether he believes Lafave will be punished for the violation.

"Given the extreme break that she was given initially, I believe the hammer's about to fall on her," Largo lawyer John Trevena said.

Another major distinction between the two women's sentences: Lafave is a registered sex offender, while Wallace will be tagged as the more serious sex predator. Both women pleaded guilty to the same charge of lewd and lascivious battery, and it was unclear Wednesday why they have different designations.

Trevena said the roles of race and sexuality play into the charging and sentencing of defendants, and likely influenced the tougher outcome for Wallace, a white woman who married a man in the midst of her affair with the black female student.

"We often see minorities and nonheterosexuals treated more harshly by the justice system," he said. "Is that really a surprise to anyone? That's reality."

Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, said she has seen different standards of justice when those involved are gay.

"The punishment should fit the crime," she said. "The race, the religion, the sexual orientation of the victim should play no role."

Prosecutor Hindman said none of those factors weighed on her sentencing recommendation for Wallace. Neither did the gender of the defendant or the victim, she said.

"Every case should be given independent analysis to determine what the appropriate punishment is," Hindman said. "It all boils down to an adult having sex with a child."

Times staff writer Rebecca Catalanello contributed to this report. Colleen Jenkins can be reached at cjenkins@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

Note: Jaymee Wallace's case is the one that involved that odd line in the victim's transcript . . . you can google it and find more info, but the transcript reads something like this--as the student was going down on her teacher in a parked car, the student reports hearing the teacher say, "Wow, I can see Busch Gardens from here."

(27) There is no frickin 27! I wish it were only 27! There are many, many, many more, but I got too depressed looking them up.

By the way, these are the female “predators.” The list of male teachers doing this kind of stuff is roughly 20 times longer. The only reason these female cases are getting so much sensational press is because . . . well, you know the history of sexism in our country. In fact, the only reason I listed them is because I knew that you would be drawn more strongly to a list of female predators than a list of male predators. If I had somehow been able to produce a list made up entirely of FEMALE teachers who went after their FEMALE students, I would have attracted even more people to this site.

Whatever. Let's get back to my point.

What is going on here?

Before I attempt to answer that question, let me first say that my comments must be tempered by the understanding that each case must be judged based on its own specifics and particulars. Any attempt to lump them all together risks missing the big picture in trying to paint a big picture.

Nevertheless, here is my big picture.

The increasing incidence of cases such as these might be implying that our rules of law and our societal mores are inconsistent with what we are biologically programmed to do.

Let’s start with the whole idea of “teengager,” that pimply, sexually charged, hormonally confusingly beautiful hybrid of adult and child.

Our law says that it is an adult at 18.

Its social immaturity says that it is an adult at 18, or even much later.

Its lack of the work skills necessary to survive in our culture says that it is an adult at 18, or even much later.

Its naïveté, which makes it prey to social and financial predators of every kind, says that it is an adult at 18, or even much later.

Its sex drive, however, says that it is an adult at around 13.

Its ability to produce young says that it is an adult at around 13.

Its physical size and strength say that it is an adult at around 13.

Its physical reconstruction of wider hips in females, broader shoulders and facial hair in males, and outer sexual beauty in both, says that it is an adult at around 13.

We complain about sexual predators taking advantage of teenagers. Don’t make me laugh.

So do street gang recruitment drives—they want the teens’ strength and courage and lack of discretion and lack of discernment—their need to have fun and excitement in their lives, even at the cost of prison and the grave.

So do the fast food franchise minimum wage employers and their ilk—they want the teens’ raw energy and their childlike obedience to harsh, petty rules and their lack of financial savvy.

So do clothing retailers, junk food vendors, cigarette peddlers, drug dealers, coaches, preachers, malls, movie theaters, charities, the armed forces, and in so many ways even parents who need the younger ones baby sat, the roof painted, the boxwoods mulched, and especially parents with family businesses who need someone to mind the store and can’t afford to pay a real employee.

Teenagers are an easy sell.

Teenagers are the underpaid (or nonpaid) warm body out there on YOUR battlefield. They are the INFANT in infantry. They are ready to take a bullet for you for no reason other than you told them to do so.

Teenagers are kinda like grown ups, but without the ability to discern that you are not really beautiful or smart or talented or even original. Teenagers are cool because they don’t realize that you are full of sh---. They will go door to door for you and sell your plastic jewelry because you told them that it will pay their way through college. LOL.

They will buy your impossible dream that every adult in his/her right mind laughs at.

They are great company because they know even less than you do.

Kinda makes you look smart. Kinda makes you feel big. These big, handsome, beautiful, strong almost-adults hanging on your false gems of wisdom.

Teenagers fill your empty pews. When you preach to the choir, it’s usually full of teens.

The pre-adolescents are no good, because they are babies—they agree with everything—plus, they are not strong enough to lift the heavy cardboard boxes.

But teens—teens will take your weak, hackneyed, tired ideas and run with them. They will do all of the legwork for you—and what great legs!

A room full of teens makes you—yes, one-trick pony dimwit you—look good. Teens will elect a fool like you sage of the year.

Thank god, the just and wise rules of sexual engagement of our complex 21st Century society are designed to protect teens from predation by naughty, selfish old schemers who desire to pick the fruit from their teeny orchard before they even know that they have fruit to pick.

“Why should we not pick their cherries?” say the schemers. “We have picked everything else they have.”

And teens are horny little buggers—biology made them that way. And all of their sexual parts are fresh from the factory and still working right.

So you end up with a society in which the most beautiful and potentially best sex partners are also the easiest to seduce (because they think that you are soooo cooooool).

Think about that for a moment. Picture it with me if you will:

A world in which the most beautiful women with the best bodies also have the most air in their heads.

A world in which the hunkiest men are also the youngest, dumbest, and full of cumm-est.

Oh, and let me add—using even your weak, tired lines, you can have them eating out of your hands madly in love with you.

For some old schemers, the temptation is just too great.

Here she is at home with a potbellied husband reaching for the Viagra to do his weakly duty. In class she is surrounded by erections sprouting like mushrooms after a spring rain.

Here he is at home with a potbellied hag complaining about the bills and his inadequacies as he reaches for the Viagra. In class he is surrounded by perky breasts, breathy voices, and 101 daily panty shots between the legs parted beneath the wooden desks.

Do you understand that some junior and high school students literally worship their teachers?

What if a beautiful hunk worshipped you, ma’am?

My point is that it is abnormal for an adult to be sexually attracted to a child. The teachers on this list who went after children as young as 10 and 11 . . . they have no defense for their actions. A teenager, however, is often in appearance and behavior more like an adult than a child. Take a good look at them. Take a GOOD look. Is that a child?

Nevertheless, this is still not justification for their preying on children. This is just to make it clear that the only difference between them and us is that they are weak. They yield where the rest of us are governed by restraint.

A few years ago when my mother was ill I traveled up to see her in one of those marathon 18-hour drives to get to her home in another state.

That time we traveled with my family (my wife and two younger children 11 and 15) and a teen cousin who was 13 at the time.

This thirteen year old teen cousin and my 11 year old son played handheld video games throughout most of the long, tedious journey by car. But each time we stopped for food along the way at the McDonalds and Burger Kings that dotted the turnpike rest stops, I had occasion to watch how the older teen females and young women working the registers at these fast food restaurants regard this little cuz, who though 13 stood 6’5” with lightly tanned skin and a curly head of hair. In the old days, they would have called him a “handsome mullato,” though that term is considered racist and offensive today with good reason.

Some of these cashiers were grown women and they were blatantly checking this “boy” out, to the point of flirting and offering him their phone numbers. When I mentioned that he was only 13, they shamefacedly got back to their duties.

My son is now 15 and stands around six feet. I watch with concern the way adult women check him out in the mall. I wonder about his female teachers. I do not worry about it too much because the words “female teacher” conjure up images of goodness and safety and prudishness. At least that’s the way I saw it when I was a student back in the 70s and 80s. Maybe I am wrong.

On a trip to Honduras for a family reunion when my kid brother was 13 (5’10”—baby faced cute), he accompanied his older brothers to a bar in San Pedro Sula, where the Honduran women swarmed all over him as they do all Yankees.

The older siblings let it go one for a while, letting the younger one bask in the glory of being adored by beautiful adult women. When they thought it had gone far enough, they announced to the women swarming around their kid brother, “You know he is only 13. We were just playing a joke on him letting you guys talk to him. He’s only 13. He’s only a kid.”

My baby brother’s face fell.

But the women said, “So what? Thirteen is fine. Thirteen is a grown man over here, Yankee.”

And they continued to swarm around my kid brother, his wide smile returning.

Of course, we did not allow him to go to bed with any of these women because we are more responsible than that, but if we had allowed it they would have slept with him and he with them.

In the same country of Honduras, but back in 1976, before my old uncle died, he married his fourth and final wife. She was 12. He was in his seventies.

I have another uncle from down there who was married at 14. His wife was 13. They are still married.

Over the years I have had students, gay and straight, in the classes I teach at the college who have attended as a couple. While I have not yet had an older woman and a very young husband, I have had older husbands and very young wives. I have had an older lesbian and a very young partner. I have had an older gay man with a very young partner.

In fact, in an essay the older gay man wrote about falling in love with his partner (who was enrolled in the class at the time) but because of discrimination they had been forced to leave their small home town and they hadn’t been back in about five years.

I did the math. The young man was 19. Five years ago he would have been . . .

With the lesbian couple, it was the young woman who mentioned during a class discussion that her current lover (who was in the class) was once an assistant coach on her high school tennis team.

When I was in high school, there was a rumor that one of my classmates was dating the chorus teacher.

The year after we graduated high school, the rumor became flesh, and my classmate married the chorus teacher.

I guess they loved each other.

And Mary Kay Letourneau, after serving a seven-year sentence in California for having sex with 12-year old Vili Fualaau, got out of prison and married him.

I guess they loved each other.

I have to apologize. I have no idea what I'm talking about. I thought my argument was going somewhere. I thought I had an answer for this mess. The truth is that if any of these pervs put their hands on any children of mine, consensual or not, I would wring their necks.

And that's not right either.

It's tough to get a handle on this issue.

Maybe I should write a book about it.

Maybe I already did.

It's called JESUS BOY, and it's due out early next year.

Thanks,

Preston

1 comment:

Alexander said...

Bravo, bravo.... I've so much to learn!

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All or Nothing

Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

World Series of Poker

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.