|Teacher Jennifer Fichter sentenced to 22 years for having sex.|
By Stephen Wilson
(Moscow, Russia) - 'She is too pretty to spend 22 years behind bars', declares the Russian version of the popular male journal, Maxim. 'Legal depotism' , ' Petty tyranny', and 'United States legal tyranny,' state other journalists. The Russians were referring to the case of a 30 year old English teacher of Aerospace academy who received the draconian sentence of 22 years imprisonment for illicit sex with three of her own 17-year-old students.
The American law enforcement officials describe her as a 'pedophile', a monster who preyed on her students and
practically molested them. The popular mass media have
demonised the poor women. Even recent articles of the
Moscow Times largely echoes the American official version of events. The title of one article is 'Russian Fans Support Sex Criminal Teacher' by Daria Litvinova, and another article condemns Russians for supporting the teacher. They state it is yet another example of Russians failing to make a distinction between 'justice' and 'legality'. The law is after all, the law!
That is not the view of many outraged Russians who have not only drawn up a petition for her release but within a
space of a few days obtained a huge quantity of signatures.
They have recently gathered 41,000 Russian signatures!
The petition, drawn up by Russian Denis Shiryaev,
theatrically declares, ' Twenty two years for a woman
who helped three mature male students start their adult
lives. Twenty two years for a woman who wanted to be
happy and loved, even if it was by someone younger
than herself. Twenty two years for the fact that these
students wanted to be with her, longed for her tenderness
and attention.' The statement would suggest someone with
an intuitive understanding of human suffering rather than a
naive person who fails to understand the difference between
law and justice. On the contrary, some Russians display a
sharp intelligence where they question the unfair verdict of
the American system and don't accept that a 17 year old man
is always 'a child' but is on the contrary, a mature adult.
For in many European counties, the age of 16 is regarded as adulthood. Therefore to uncritically describe Jennifer Fichter as some warped pedophile is not only way off the mark. In the eyes of many Russians and other cultures, it appears absurd. It is quite possible that Fichter may well just be a lonely teacher or simply a person attracted to young men. She is not a maniac, pervert or pedophile. She never raped, beat up or killed any children. Contrast this with
the case of a Norwegian Neo-Nazis who killed 77 young
people and received a lesser sentence of 21 years!
The usual procedure for dealing with such offending
teachers is not to imprison them but simply dismiss them from their job.
An American petition to release Jennifer Fichter had
less luck than the Russian one. While the Russians
gathered 41,000 signatures , the U.S. White-house Citizen Action received less than 2000! It looks as if the Russians will soon acquire 100,000 signatures which is the number of signatures required for the case to obtain a review from Obama. The crucial problem is that those signatures are not from Americans but Russians ... It is unlikely whether this
petition will be legally accepted by the American Government. However, it might well make an impact and spur more Americans to take up her case!
Whether the attractive and vulnerable Jennifer Fichter is aware she is a current celebrity case in Russia is largely unknown. If she is aware, she might well wish that Americans expressed as much understanding as her gallant supporters in Russia.