A 29-year-old female elementary school teacher from Abington, Massachusetts faces statutory rape charges after allegedly having sex approximately 300 times over the course of 18 months with a 13-year-old boy.
Described as an obsessive predator by police, Christine McCallum first embarked on her relationship with the boy as a surrogate mother figure. The relationship allegedly progressed to snuggling and kissing after McCallum plied the boy with alcohol, and then eventually, to sex.
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Needless to say, we find the whole situation distressing, to put it mildly.
That being said, our aim in presenting this story is not to celebrate a scandal or express derision for the alleged crime. Rather, we feel compelled to explore a more complicated and rarely discussed side to this story and others of the same sort: spousal loyalty.
According to the Boston Globe, when McCallum appeared in Brockton District Court last Friday to plead not guilty on several of the counts, she did so with her husband of five years at her side.
The Sun goes further, specifically stating that, "she was seen in court holding her husband's hand."
In light of this apparent display of support, it is worth noting that McCallum is charged not only with committing statutory rape, but of doing so in the same home she shares with her husband. The first time was allegedly on a couch while her husband slept upstairs. Subsequent incidents allegedly took place in their shower and on their kitchen floor.
All of this begs the question: If your partner was accused of a sex crime, would you stand by his or her side?
Consider former New York governor Eliot Spitzer's involvement with an illegal online prostitution ring. His wife Silda stood with him as he announced his remorse to the public.
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Or James McGreevey, the former New Jersey governor who was threatened by his homeland security advisor with a potential sexual harassment suit. In the now-famous press conference in which he defended himself, McGreevey stated that he was not a predator, but "a gay American" who'd "engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man." At the press conference, his now ex-wife Dina Matos stood at his side, smiling.
Are these high-profile partners delusional or loyal? Are they unwavering in their faith or desperate to salvage what's left? What agendas, beyond the obvious, might they be operating under? And, if placed in a similar position, would you do things differently?