Teacher Sex Scandals: Double Standard?

Cases of female teachers caught having sex with male students have made the headlines recently. But some experts think it's only the tip of the iceberg as they contend boys are less likely to report sex crimes than girls.

"Boys just live in a world, because of our society, that doesn't really code sexual exploitation of them by a female as very serious," said Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft.

Click in the box to the right to watch a video report by FOX News' Jonathan Serrie.

What experts debate is whether that social double standard translates into a legal one. Some legal analysts say the courts are more likely to show mercy to female teachers than their male counterparts.

"When it comes to sentencing for these kind of crimes, men and women are not created equally. Women get predominantly lighter sentences than men do for child molestation and for abusing children in a sexual way," said FNC legal analyst Lis Wiehl.

Nicole Pomerleau (search), a high-school English teacher in Charlotte, N.C., admitted she had sex with a 16-year-old male student. She did not get prison time and did not have to register as a sex offender.

Pomerleau's attorney said her sentence of two years' probation was not lenient given the circumstances of this consensual, albeit illegal, relationship.

"We pled guilty to a felony. We forfeited a teaching certificate. And she forfeited her way of life," said defense attorney Robert DeCurtins.

Victims-rights advocates argue that sex with a minor is a serious crime, regardless of the gender of those involved.

"I think the punishment should be the same. It doesn't matter if you are a woman or a man teacher. It doesn't matter if you are a priest or a soccer coach. The penalty should be the same, man or woman," said John Walsh (search), host of "America's Most Wanted."