I thought I’d never see a worse travesty and outrage than the Cassandra Sorenson-Grohall case. At least not in the same city or even state and not so soon thereafter. I was wrong. Less than 5 years later, also in Milwaukee, Melissa Bittner was charged with “sexually assaulting” a male student who sexually assaulted her. And on June 25, 2002, the 22-year-old newlywed and ex-music teacher was sentenced to a year in prison and much else for allegedly initiating and/or consenting to 15-20 acts of “sexual contact” with the 16-year-old biological man and criminal who sexually assaulted her. I quote the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the same reporter who covered the Sorenson-Grohall case:
A former Messmer High School music teacher who had repeated sexual contact with a 16-year-old student after school was sentenced Tuesday to one year in prison followed by three-years of community supervision…The student…indicated that the teacher encouraged his behavior and after one episode “seemed to be very happy and thanked him for doing that to her,” a criminal complaint says…The boy told police the sexual encounters began sometime in September when he stayed after school for special instructions on playing the drum. The student estimated the number of encounters at 15 to 20. “Each time, it (the sexual contact) would get a little more progressive.” Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Patti Wabitch told DiMotto on Tuesday. “I think there was more to this relationship than Ms. Bittner was willing to admit.” (David Doege, “Messmer teacher sentenced to one year, ” MJS, 6-26-2002, p. 3B.)
And she was also sentenced to 20-years of sex-offender registration as a uniquely dangerous and degenerate criminal.
Fortunately, a long article in Milwaukee Magazine I found by chance and read almost a year after her sentencing discloses what really happened. My suspicions of innocence and gross and glaring injustice were confirmed. Unsurprisingly, Melissa was the victim and her “victim” was the assailant: “According to Bittner, the ‘humping’ occurred six times. She says she was so scared and intimidated by his advances that she froze, though she always asked him to stop. In the one incident were Devon says Bittner masturbated him, she claims he forced her hand down his pants and she barely touched his penis.” (Peg Taylor, “The Other Side of Darkness,” MM, Nov. 2002, p. 61.)
Yes, in some ways, this case is even more sickening, execrable, appalling, iniquitous. Unlike Cassandra, Melissa wasn’t raped by her de jure “victim” and de facto victimizer. But, also unlike Cassandra, she was innocent, legally innocent, transparently so, saliently a victim of false accusations, even if she’s not telling the truth as a whole but largely and essentially. And, almost certainly, she never assented, willingly, to a single-act of “intercourse” and “sexual contact” with her tormentor and assailant.