Vanessa George, a British nursery school worker, has been convicted of molesting children in her care and sharing the images with other pedophiles. The horrifying story has caused a reevaluation of how female sex predators are treated:
It's unknown how many of the children at Little Ted's nursery in Plymouth George abused (she claims she can't give a definite list) but the investigation has centered on 30, and George has admitted to targeting babies, because it was "easier." George was involved with another two other pedophiles, (including one Colin Blanchard, with whom friends say the married mother of two was "obsessed) with whom she shared pictures of the children. She's pleaded guilty to seven sexual assaults on children and six counts of distributing and making indecent pictures of children. She will be sentenced to a minimum of seven years which, to the children's parents, must seem generous indeed. (Her accomplices are expected to receive similar sentences.) According to the Daily Mail, George says she committed the acts under Blanchard's thrall and received no sexual gratification from the abuse:
'Immediately I knew what sort of pictures he wanted. I sent him two or three when I was changing their nappies. I knew it would make him happy,' she said. 'I felt disgusted but I did it anyway. I couldn't trust him, so to make him happy I just sent him more pictures. It was just random - if he wanted extra pictures I'd take them.'
In this regard, George's story is not unusual. Of the relatively small percentage of all sex offenses committed by women, a large number have differing motivations from those committed by men. It's this that has led the British Ministry of Justice to announce a new "female sex offender management strategy" that will seek a different means of rehabilitation. Says the BBC,
One recent study by the US Center for Sex Offender Management found while some women were driven by deviant sexual urges, others offended where they were alongside a man, either because he had egged them on or because they were coerced into taking part. Women appear to be more likely to offend in a situation where they are a carer, rather than hunt out children to abuse...Some offenders had been victims themselves, often in childhood. In some cases the woman had lost all concept of right and wrong after a long and abusive relationship with a man that has led to a complete mental breakdown. Many FSOs have been found to suffer from intense depression, low self-esteem or be drug abusers. So while the predominant factor in many male paedophiles' offending is sexual deviancy - that needs to be clinically assessed and tackled - a woman's offending can be triggered by something far more complex in their history.
None of which ameliorates the heinous nature of the crimes, of course - but which understanding could, potentially, cut down on re-offenses. And, crucially, possibly prevent the crimes. My first thought was that, ideally, this information can be used for more effective screening of anyone who might potentially work with children. But it's all scant comfort for the parents of the untold children who were abused.
How Are Female Paedophiles Rehabilitated? [BBC]
Vanessa George Jailed For Child Sex Abuse [Guardian]
Nursery Paedophile Vanessa George Jailed For At Least Seven Years... But STILL Won't Reveal Names Of Victims [Daily Mail]
Facebook Paedo Vanessa George Jailed Indefinitely [Mirror]