When Women Offend

Female predators have always been with us

Amy Punt

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A black and white photo of a white plastic mask that looks like a feminine face. It’s leaning against a wall of black ink that appears to be spraying out from the top of the head. It’s an unsettling image.
Photo by Edilson Borges on Unsplash

Lindsay Clancy, 33, wife and mother of three, is accused of strangling her three children to death after sending her husband out on errands.

Rikki Lynn Laughlin, 25, wife, mother, and teacher, faces six charges in connection with the attempted rape of a 16-year-old boy.

Brittany Zamora, 24, wife and teacher, is serving a 20-year sentence for the sexual abuse of one of her 13-year-old students.

Alissa Mccommon, 33, wife and teacher, is accused of raping a 12-year-old student in her own home. After getting released on bond, she called the victim and threatened him, saying he’d “regret” going to authorities. She now claims she’s pregnant with their child.

Dr. Aimee Palmitessa, 45, wife, mother, and teacher, was convicted on three counts of rape of a 16-year-old student. Palmitessa taught for nine years at an elite school in Brentwood, CA, famous for its famous clientele. I knew her. She and her then-husband had been good friends with my former sister-in-law and her husband. My now ex-husband and I had been in their home and out with them a number of times. She was pregnant the last time we’d seen them, which was before her arrest in 2017.

She was charming, pretty, brilliant, and her husband was devoted to her. He had been married to a nightmare before her, and by all accounts, Aimee was her opposite. I thought they were perfect. I envied their lives together. She’d been a research fellow at UCLA studying the reproductive cycle of inch worms. She’d told me that story because I hated my job at the time, but didn’t think I could make a living as a writer. She sympathized. She’d loved her work in research but it only paid $30,000 a year. She didn’t like her job teaching any more than I liked mine.

I never forgot that because it was our first meaningful conversation and it endeared me to her immediately. I really had hoped we would hang out more with them.

I saw her ex-husband and met their new baby girl after her sentencing. He appeared shattered, but like any newly single parent, he didn’t let himself dwell. I’ve thought about her a lot over the years. The news only reported on one victim, but I’d heard through the grapevine that there was another…

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Amy Punt

As a child, writing saved my sanity. As an adult, writing saved my life. Now, I write in hopes of helping someone else.