Last week, Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco, radio hosts on New Jersey’s WKXW-FM, voiced controversial opinions regarding teachers who have sexual relationships with their underage students.
Malloy and Franco each published a blog article on the station’s website defending young adult teachers accused of having inappropriate contact with their students.
Malloy wrote an article titled, “NJ Teachers + Students = Sex (Opinion),” which mentioned a recent case involving a 24-year-old male teacher who faces sexual assault charges for having a relationship with a 17-year-old female student.
The radio host noted that the age of consent in New Jersey is 16. Malloy argued that, while both parties’ actions were wrong, the teacher should not have to register as a sex offender for it.
“This young man faces sexual assault charges that could put him in prison and label him as a sex offender for the rest of his life. No doubt he used poor judgment and made a bad decision. The same could be said for some of these students but for him as a teacher, the consequences are much greater,” wrote Malloy.
The radio personality argued that if the sexual contact was consensual, then the teacher should not face sexual assault charges.
Malloy stated, “I am not condoning what this young man did. It was wrong. He exercised poor judgment and a lack of restraint and self-control. What about the young woman?”
“In many cases where this happens with a male teacher, the female student is not some shy wilting flower that was taken advantage of,” he wrote.
Co-host Judi Franco expressed a similar sentiment in her own article published the same week titled, “Let’s stop criminalizing teachers having sex with students in NJ (Opinion),” where she cited the same criminal case.
Franco wrote that people need to be more empathetic toward the teachers in these situations. “Just as many 17-year-old students can be seductresses as 24-year-old teachers can be casanovas. I realize that the law says this is a criminal act but let’s be grown-ups. It’s silly,” her article stated.
She agreed with Malloy that the male teacher should bear more responsibility for being in a position of authority over the female student but that the student was not blameless either.
Franco argued, “We talk about female empowerment. You can’t have it both ways. Should we paint a 17-year-old girl as a weak little flower? Or should she understand the power she’s been imbued with and choose when and how to wield it? After all, if this were a consensual relationship, it’s not a rape. Why teach girls that they’re victims?”
The two co-hosts wrote that they believe teachers who have sexual relationships with students should be removed from their positions for displaying a lack of self-control but that they should not always face serious criminal charges.
Judi Franco received backlash in 2017 when she spoke out in defense of Harvey Weinstein and accused his female victims of using “poor judgment.”
“The woman’s movement was supposed to celebrate and reinforce the strength of women. Claims of sexual harassment only serve to paint women as helpless and hapless victims,” she wrote. “In the case of Harvey Weinstein, WHY would you go to his hotel room? Note to female professionals: A hotel room is a BEDROOM!!!”