Closing a Loophole in California’s Consent Law

SacramentoGood news in California! A new law closes a silly loophole that allowed school districts to argue that teenage victims “consented” to sex with teachers. Now it is perfectly clear: A child under 18 cannot legally “consent” to sexual acts with a teacher, coach, or another adult in a position of authority. Outstanding!

The legislature moved to close the loophole after it came to the public’s attention in a recent trial against the Los Angeles School District. The District argued at trial that a 14-year-old student had consented to sex with her 28-year-old teacher, so the District should not be held liable. Even though the teacher had been criminally convicted, the School District won the civil case based on this argument.

The result showed that the jury did not understand how adults in positions of authority and trust can manipulate their relationship with a child. Apparently the jury thought only physical resistance counts when it comes to childhood sexual abuse.

Sen. Ricardo Lara, who sponsored the legislation, said it best, “Now, sexual predators will no longer be off the hook for child abuse and negligence because of a nuance in law.”

Read the story in the Los Angeles Times.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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