And it don’t stop. For weeks, the nation has been treated to explosive coverage of the child rape/sexual molestation charges against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. But similar charges of depravity against children occur with great frequency on a local level in stories that are unlikely to make national news. And when they involve female abusers, they are just as unlikely to raise as much outcry.

The latest was reported on Wednesday. A 42-year-old woman teaching sixth grade at a Brooklyn middle school was charged with having raped a boy at her school for two years beginning when he was 12.

Claudia Tillery is innocent until proven guilty of having sex with the boy in her home and at a motel, and providing him with drugs and alcohol. Through her lawyer, Tillery says the boy is making up the story because she once accused him of stealing a cell phone.

A court will decide the truth. But more than 10 years after Mary Kay Letourneau came to embody the crime of teachers, female teachers, having sex with the children in their care, society continues to view boys being molested by women as more a rite of passage, than a crime. And these acts, even when found to be criminal in a court of law, continue to too often be punished with relative slaps on the wrist.

Just this summer, a female Queens teacher convicted of having sex with one her 15-year-old students received a sentence of just 90 days. Compare that to the case of male Queens teacher charged with systematically sexually molesting and groping girls ages 8 to 10 over a two-year period. He faces seven years if convicted and was being held in jail on $200,000 bail.

Bail is supposed to be about simply ensuring that the accused shows up for trial, and not about the severity of the alleged crime itself. But it’s notable that Tillery, the female teacher in Brooklyn, got to go home to await trial. She was released on her own recognizance after her arraignment.

Some may argue that the charges involving the male Queens teacher involve more heinous accusations with younger victims. Perhaps. But that view still puts an onus of sophistication on boys, who even at 12 may not have fully reached puberty, and certainly are not the emotional, or often even the physical, equal of a fully-grown woman.

No matter whether the alleged perpetrator is a man or a woman, it is past time that society stops viewing the abuse of children, whether they are male or female, with a wink and a smile.

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