Estrich's books include "Real Rape," "Getting Away with Murder: How Politics is Destroying the Criminal Justice System," "Dealing with Dangerous Offenders," "Making the Case for Yourself: A Diet Book for Smart Women" and "Sex & Power," currently a Los Angeles Times bestseller.
It was the only time in my life that I got depressed: poor sleep, suppressed appetite, Kafka. The next kiss didn't come for another 4 years, when I was in medical school. Turns out that the skill set required to navigate the tricky waters of romantic interaction wasn't in any book I had read or any class I had taken. As guys, a lot of what we did in physics and math class was to try to straighten crooked stuff out.
If a boy should consider himself lucky to be the object of a teacher's attentions, then what does that say about the boy who complains?
But that's a reason to argue to the legislature to change them, not to tell a prosecutor he's wrong about enforcing them.
Susan Estrich is currently the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California and a member of the Board of Contributors of USA Today.
It's a particularly easy question where the state, in this case Texas, has passed a simple and straightforward law that makes it a crime, without regard to the age or gender of the student. But when the bill came to the floor of the house, it was amended, and the age provision was dropped.
If he had not been a student, he would have been considered a consenting adult. When the Texas law was originally drafted, it was limited to students 17 years of age and under.
Clues cure cluelessness, so I provided some clues for the smart boys. Wimpiness may be the root of all the dating woes of smart men. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want or to get righteously indignant when warranted. Worry less about offending people, more about having fun.
So this goes out to all my boys out there at places like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Columbia, Duke, Swarthmore, Penn, Cornell, Berkeley, Brown, Dartmouth, Oxford, and Cambridge.
Would it have been different if it were a male teacher and an 18-year-old girl? There is no question that there is a double standard in sex abuse cases, and nowhere is it more apparent than in what seems to be the growing number of teacher sex cases.
We all react with shock at the very idea of a male teacher "taking advantage" of young women in his class; I can't imagine a panel having trouble with criminal charges in such a case, no matter how good looking the man, indeed, especially if he were good looking.
And short of such a right, it is up to the legislature to set society's standards for acceptable conduct. The fact that my fellow panelists don't happen to "like" it is no reason for it not to be enforced.
There are any number of criminal laws that I don't like.
Teachers have power over students, which undercuts the notion that consent can be given freely; we control their lives, which means it's not fair to the individual student, or to the other students in the class; it's an abuse of the teacher's power, and compromises both the real and perceived fairness of that student's grades and of any overall curve in the class. Obviously, the younger the student, the worse the injury, but abuse of power is about power, not age.