Sentencing disparities between male and female teacher sexual offenders: do male offenders receive harsher penalties in Arizona?
The purpose of this preliminary study is to determine if sentencing disparities exist between male and female teachers who have been convicted of sexual misconduct with a student in Maricopa County, Arizona over a ten-year period. The hypothesis is that male teachers convicted of sexual misconduct with a student will receive harsher punishment than their female counterparts. In addition, this research will analyze the sentencing decisions of Arizona judges and prosecutors through plea-bargaining when compared with the presumptive sentence set by the Arizona Legislature. Issues that will be addressed include: a brief review of gender disparities in sentencing, sex offender sentencing, Arizona's rules of criminal procedure, and a review of the Arizona Revised Statutes pertaining to sexual crimes as well as the Arizona Supreme Court sentencing guidelines. The data set consists of fifteen different Maricopa County teachers who committed a sexual offense against a student and were convicted of that offense from February 2000 through September 2009. According to the results of this study, male teachers do receive harsher penalties than their female counterparts within Maricopa County.