ABC is taking a strange angle in their reporting of an adult-child sexting scandal. 49-year-old former Mayor of Prosser, Washington Linda Lusk (pictured above with high school principal husband Kevin Lusk) was caught sexting (even a sending pic of herself in her bra) to her teenage daughter Carly’s 14-year-old ex-boyfriend Bubba. Linda and her husband Kevin say the sexting scandal was caused by Linda’s depression after the death of her son Taylor (who passed away after living for 15 years with the crippling genetic disorder Trisomy 13.)
Lusk and her husband said that to understand why she became entangled with Bubba at all, it’s important to understand her relationship with another boy — her son, Taylor, who died in 2009.
Apparently, awash in her grief, Linda Lusk and Bubba connected one day, and, having always liked him, they begun to text. His parents were going through a divorce, and the first texts she sent to him were nurturing ones, according to Bubba. But, he says they got increasingly flirty and sexy. Eventually he asked to see a photo of her nude, and Linda sent him a photo of herself wearing just her bra. Trying to explain why she sent the photo, she told Chris Cuomo on 20/20 that it was like when a child asks you for candy 500 times, and you finally give in.
What’s strange about this presentation is how easily Lusk’s explanations are accepted by the ABC reporters. If this situation had switched genders, an older man would certainly be more harshly judged, even if he was sexting a teen girl who says she was enjoying it. Sexually abusing and manipulating a minor is the same no matter what the genders were, even Dourtney (50-year-old Doug Hutchinson and his 16-year-old bride Courtney Stodden) never publicly admitted to having sexual communication before their marriage.
Depression from losing a son is devastating, and probably can be related to any number of strange behaviors, but it doesn’t seem fair to say it explains why a grown woman would send sexy photos of herself to a 14-year-old boy, much less one who once dated her own daughter. Comparing the situation to a child begging for candy doesn’t things at all.
Linda’s daughter Carly was horrified when people at school started talking about her mom’s relationship with Bubba. He was telling his friends about it, and even showed some of them the photo. When Carly confronted her mom, she was shocked when Linda told her that not everything she was hearing was true, but that she was engaging in inappropriate text messaging with Bubba! The truth came out in April 2010, and Linda eventually served three months in jail for third degree child molestation, a felony, because not only did she sext with Bubba, but she allegedly gave him oral sex when he came over one day during lunchtime “to have her sign a community service form.” She ultimately didn’t admit to giving him a blow job, but did admit in court to touching his penis with her hand.
Linda became infamous in her town, with people making YouTube videos paring her picture with “Mrs. Robinson,” and their own free-style raps. She’s now required to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years. Just this Monday, Linda Lusk violated her probation by crossing the county line without informing her parole officer. She was trying to attend her daughter’s college swim meet, but is currently being held in custody until a hearing in two weeks.
Bubba himself doesn’t feel taken advantage of, and doesn’t feel that Linda Lusk should be punished, but his mother is outraged by the situation.
What do you think, is depression a good excuse for this type of behavior?
Linda Lusks’s story airs tonight on ABC’s 20/20.