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Home Glossary Child sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse

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Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which a child is abused for the sexual gratification of an adult or older adolescent. In addition to direct sexual contact, child sexual abuse also occurs when an adult indecently exposes their genitalia to a child, asks or pressures a child to engage in sexual activities, displays pornography to a child, or uses a child to produce child pornography.

Effects of child sexual abuse include guilt and self-blame, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, fear of things associated with the abuse (including objects, smells, places, doctor's visits, etc.), self-esteem issues, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain, addiction, self-injury, suicidal ideation, somatic complaints, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, other mental illnesses (including borderline personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder[citation needed]), propensity to re-victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to the child, among other problems.

Sexual abuse by a family member is a form of incest, and can result in more serious and long-term psychological trauma, especially in the case of parental incest.

Approximately 15% to 25% of women and 5% to 15% of men were sexually abused when they were children. Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often fathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters, or neighbors; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases. Most child sexual abuse is committed by men; women commit approximately 14% of offenses reported against boys and 6% of offenses reported against girls. Most offenders who abuse pre-pubescent children are pedophiles; however, a small percentage do not meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia.
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Female Childpornographers

Sarah Adleta, 29-year-old mother from Oviedo, Florida, was sentenced to 54 years in federal prison for sexually abusing her children and making child pornograpahy. U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton Jr. said the case was among the most "horrific" he has seen. Adleta pleaded guilty to two charges in May and testified against her ex-husband 25-year-old former Marine officer Jonathan Adleta during his trial last month. Prosecutors said Sarah and Jonathan Adleta made having sex with their two children a part of their parenting plan, and even after they divorced, the abuse continued. [Read more]


Katie Dube, 27-year-old woman from Bangor, Maine, who in the end of the year 2012 withdrew her guilty plea was sentenced to 23 years in prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release on charges in connection with the sexual abuse of a now 9-year-old boy. In May 2012 Dube was indicted for sex assault and exploitation of a seven-year-old boy, and she pleaded guiltyin october to five counts of gross sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. In December she withdrew her guilty plea after the judge rejected an agreement that called for her to serve a maximum sentence of 17 years... [Read more]


Jennifer Mahoney, a 33-year-old former waitress from Manalapan (Trenton), New Jersey, was sentenced in December 2012 to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl she had been babysitting and streaming the abuse over the internet. In May 2012 Mahoney admitted in federal court that she had sexually abused the girl in her parents’ home on multiple occasions in the summer or fall of 2011 and streamed it using Skype. In addition, she amitted that during an attack separate from the incident she streamed, she had recorded abuse on her iPhone and and later e-mailed child pornography to a man called "Robert". Mahoney has also admitted to watching other videos of child sexual abuse via Skype, the court documents stated... [Read more]

Tanai D. Fortman, 32-year-old woman from Springboro, Ohio, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after she pleaded guilty in a child sex case. Fortman pleaded guilty to rape and pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor. she is now classified as a Tier III sexually oriented offender, meaning she will have to register her address with authorities every 90 days for the rest of her life. Prosecutors said the abuse happened at her Springboro home in June. [Read more]


Florida Teacher Sex Scandals

Stephanie Ragusa Stephanie Ragusa, 31-year-old former teacher from Tampa Bay, Florida, was sentenced to  10 years in prison followed by five years of sex offender probation in one case and fifteen years of sex offender probation in the second. The sentance is the maximum according to a plea deal. [Read more ...]


Stephanie Ragusa Adrienne Laflamme, 63-year-old former juvenile detention center teacher in Brevard County Schools, Florida, was sentenced in March 2011 to two years in prison after a plea agreement. Laflamme pleaded guilty to three counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a second-degree felony, and one count of providing a false report to a law enforcement officer, a first-degree misdemeanor. The rest of the charges against her were dropped. [Read more ...]


Lisa Marinelli Lisa Robyn Marinelli, 40, a substitute teacher at Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Florida was arrested and charged with unlawful sex with a minor in March 2008. She pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in April 2009. In a deal between defense and prosecution, both sides agreed to a stringent probationary sentence that includes a year of house arrest, four years of sex offender probation and no contact with children under 18 without supervision. In addition, Marinelli will have to register as a sex offender, undergo testing for sexually transmitted diseases and complete sex offender treatment. [Read more ...]


Kristen Sullivan Kristen Nicole Sullivan, 27-year-old former teacher at Lauderhill Middle School, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, accepted a plea agreement offered by the prosecution and was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2011. Sullivan was charged with two counts of sexual battery on a victim between the ages of 12 and 17 by a person with custodial authority, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and she also faced two counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between the ages of 12 and 16, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.[Read more ...]


Notorious Female Sex Offenders

Abbie Swogger Abbie Jean Swogger, 34-year-old former exotic dancer and teacher's aide at Highlands Senior High School, was was arrested in February 2008 for allegedly contributing to the corruption of at least four minors including her own 15-year-old son. New Kensington police said they found suspected crack cocaine, empty beer cans and used condoms in a room that Swogger, of Harrison, shared with minors Thursday night at New Kensington's Clarion Hotel. The room contained drug paraphernalia and a marijuana odor when officers arrived just before noon on Friday to follow up on reports of missing teens.[Read more ...]


Donna Smith Donna Lea Smith was sentenced in May 2009  to more than 6 1/2 years in prison following her conviction in February 2009 on charges of sexual battery on a child and and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child. She  must also serve 10 years of sex-offender probation upon her release, Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath ruled. Smith was convicted by a jury of engaging in sex with her 12-year-old adopted son. [Read more ...]


Adrienne FeistelAdrienne Elizabeth Feistel, 36-year-old California woman, pleaded guilty in January 2010 to one count of statutory rape. In exchange for her guilty plea, numerous other charges were dropped and the former fifth-grade teacher has been sentenced by San Diego Superior Court Judge Richard S. Whitney to three years in prison for engaging in sex with a 12-year-old boy, the maximum sentence sought by prosecutors. The boy, now 15, testified that Feistel came into his room at night and molested him. He said the first time Feistel got in bed with him, she kissed him, and that during a third late-night visit, Feistel touched his `”privates.” He said she told him her mouth would “feel good” on his privates, and during another visit she orally copulated him. [ Read More ...]

April WatsonApril Burford Watson,  a former math teacher junior varsity cheerleader adviser at Jay High School in Jay, Florida was arrested in August on allegations of having sex with male juveniles. At the same time, another teacher, Ashley Elenea Burkett, was also arrested. Watson to the attention of authorities on July 28, 2009 after an anonymous letter was sent to the Santa Rosa County School District alleging sexual relationships between two Jay High School teachers and male juveniles. School officials turned the information over to the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office for investigation. Two of the boys told that they were involved in sexual activity with Watson at her residence and the residence of Burkett between the months of July and October 2007.  Both of the suspects were questioned and that they both admitted to the alleged unlawful sexual activity. [Read more ...]


Christine HubbsIn February 2011 Christine Shreeve Hubbs, 42-year-old married mother of three from Livermore, California, has pleaded no contest  to four felony charges and was sentenced to five years in state prison. The plea was part of a deal with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, which dropped 63 other felony sex charges against Christine Shreeve Hubbs, 42. An unrelated misdemeanor case against her also was dropped. Hubbs was arrested in August 2010 and faced 67 counts of sexual assault on a minor, unlawful sexual intercourse with person under 18 years, oral copulation, lewd act on a child, distribution or exhibition of lewd material to a minor, Contacting a minor for the purpose of engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior.
In July 2010 police were contacted about the alleged assaults which date back to 2008 after a parent allegedly found a nude photo of Hubbs on their son’s cell phone. Search warrants were obtained and Hubbs’ personal computer and phones were seized, revealing her ongoing sexual relationships with several teen boys. [Read more ...]


Christy Martin32-year-old Christy Lynn Martin, who worked as a teacher at Azalea Middle School in St. Petersburg, Florida, was arrested in March 2009  for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy and sending pornography to the victim. According to documents  the teenage boy told investigators he and Martin were involved in a relationship after boy’s mother had alerted police. The investigation began when the boy told an adult relative about his involvement with Martin, and the relative told the boy’s mother. Detectives interviewed Martin and she admitted to sending the pictures to the teen.  Martin was a full-time teacher at Azalea Middle School in St. Petersburg, where she tought  computer business applications. [Read More ...]




Featured Case

Shanice Lambert

Shanice Lambert, Texas

Shanice Adel Lambert, 38-year-old former teacher’s aide at Childress Independent School District, Childress, Texas, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, following her November 2012 guilty plea to one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a 15-year-old boy.


Lambert, who is a mother of teen girl. told a teen boy to send a pornographic picture of himself to her, attempted to entice a boy to have sex with her and twice drove a boy from Texas to Oklahoma to have sex.

[Read more ...]