Teacher sex case gets international attention

More than two decades, that's how long former Lakeland teacher Jennifer Fichter will spend in prison for having sex with three of her 17-year old male students.  

A pair of online petitions calls her punishment too harsh.

The first petition is on Change.org.  A posting there has already received more than 10,000 supporters, many are sympathizers from Russia.
A second online petition is on the White House's "We the People" Page.  It has 3000 signatures.
100,000 signatures are needed for the administration to consider it.

So could these petitions have an effect on Fichter's fate?

"Mind you this is the same country that imprisons punk rockers if you talk bad about the president, so I really don't think this petition from Russia will go anywhere," said Tampa attorney Anthony Rickman.

Rickman says Florida has some of the toughest statutory rape laws in the country and at the end of the day Fichter broke the law.

"She's a teacher. She's in a position of power to these children. If you break the law you face a sentence," Rickman said.

So why do Russians even care in the first place?  According to a psychologist in the Moscow Times, the petitions are examples of Russia's chauvinistic society.  

Dr. Jeremy Gaies is a psychologist in Tampa. He says sex abuse can have just as damaging effects on teens as it can on younger children.
"There are cultural stereotypes that teenage boys would want to have sex with a woman and therefore would not be in an abusive relationship. That is untrue," Dr. Gaies said.