For a whole year, Silvia Johnson threw parties for eight high school friends of her teenage daughter, supplying the boys with alcohol, methamphetamines and marijuana. She had sex with five of them and only got caught when one of the boys finally told his mom what was going on.
Johnson pled guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault and nine felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. That is enough to get her 58 years in jail. Johnson says she just wanted to be a “cool mom.”
Countdown guest host Alison Stewart spoke with Dr. Jennifer Berman, Director of Sexual medicine at the Rodeo Drive's Women's Health Center, to discuss the actions of this not so cool mom.
ALISON STEWART, ‘COUNTDOWN' GUEST HOST: Johnson's claim that she wanted to be cool and popular and then her subsequent actions...now, is this the behavior of a pedophile or someone who qualifies as mentally ill, or both or neither?
DR. JENNIFER BERMAN, RODEO DRIVE‘S WOMEN‘S HEALTH CENTER: Clearly, a pedophile is when someone is drawn to an infantile — sexually, an infantile person. In this case, these 15 to 17-year-olds are clearly sexually mature individuals physically, maybe not emotionally or mentally.
I think that this represents — and I'm not here to pass moral judgment on this woman, but as a health care provider, a woman and a mother — this clearly represents somebody that was not thinking cohesively, was not of sane mental body or mind and definitely has self-esteem issues, emotional issues, relationship issues, and could be temporarily insane. I would imagine that's what she's going to plea.
STEWART: Well, the law will take care of her. What about these boys? What advice would you give their parents to them now, in terms of their own mental and sexual health?
BERMAN: In this case, to some degree, the sexual encounters were not forced, consensual, if you can even call it consensual with a teenager. For them to understand or know what the implications are is questionable.
And what I would encourage parents to do would be to openly communicate with their teens about the risks, about the implications, about how it affects them emotionally, personally, and how they feel about it because it can have long-term consequences in how they feel about themselves, how they feel about themselves sexually and how they negotiate sexual relationships in the future, in particular, the children of this particular woman.
STEWART: Something that's sort of interesting in terms of the culture, we have movies like “American Pie,” glorifying the concept of a high school boy hooking up with a friend's mom. There's that kind of fun song, “Stacy's Mom Has,” you know, “Got It Going On.” Is there a certain acceptance for teenage boys who might score with someone's mom? And is that healthy?
BERMAN: Well, clearly, it would be much more distressing to us, as Americans, had this been a father with young teenage girls. We would probably all be much more up in arms than we are about this. But that being said, there can be negative emotional and sexual consequences on teenage boys. Just because they're boys doesn't mean that they're equipped mentally or physically to deal with these consequences.
So yes, it's portrayed as cool. And yes, there are some kudos to maybe, you know, scoring with an older woman, so to speak. But in this case, the consequences can be definitely damaging, particularly if the teenagers do not have the psychological and emotional tools to deal with it.
STEWART: You touched on this briefly, and it's something that has been just bothering me about the story. What about this woman's daughter? What hurdles will she face in terms of her own sexual growth?
BERMAN: Well, clearly, there's a lack of boundaries in this family — the boundaries between the mother and the daughter, the boundaries between the mother and the peers. I think that this child particularly faces issues with boundaries, issues with her own self-esteem and sexuality, and probably issues related to substance abuse.