11/27/14 Age Of Consent

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A civil lawsuit in California has exposed a flaw in that state’s judicial precedence regarding at what age someone can give legal consent for sexual activity.
 
In 2011, 28-year old middle school teacher Elkis Hermida was sentenced to three years in prison for the six-month sexual relationship he had with a 14-year old student.  
 
The girl and her family filed a civil lawsuit alleging the Los Angeles School District was negligent.  
 
An L.A. Superior Court jury ruled the school district was not liable.
 
Here’s the disturbing part.  The school district’s lawyer argued in court that the 14-year old bore some responsibility for the sexual relationship claiming she was a willing participant.  In California, the age of consent is 18.  The judge also allowed the school district to introduce the young girl’s sexual history as part of its defense.
 
It gets worse.  As disturbing as the school’s trial defense was it had legal precedence on its side.  According to a 2001 ruling by the California Supreme Court, a minor — perhaps as young as 14 years old — may be capable of giving legal consent to sexual relations with someone over 18.  That ruling stemmed from a court case involving a 38-year old man having an incestuous relationship with his 16-year old daughter.
 
The California State Assembly should write legislation to correct this travesty in its courts.

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