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Recently, the public school system of Los Angeles defeated a lawsuit against it, in which a girl claimed that the schools did not do their duty to protect her from a sexual predator.  The scumbag in question was her teacher at the time, and she admits that during their five month ‘relationship’, she lied to her mother and snuck to hotels and other locations to meet with him.  The lawyer for the school district argued that, even though a 14-year-old child cannot give consent in criminal cases, her actions demonstrate that she knew what she was doing and that her participation was voluntary.  Apparently his reasoning is backed up by a decision in a federal court, and the jury bought it.  In addition, the judge allowed evidence of the girl’s sexual history to be introduced, which takes the creepiness and disgust up to 11 for me.

Basically, the lawyer argued that because she tried to hide her molestation and might have some sexual experience before her teacher decided to trawl the middle school for a victim, then she is at least partially responsible for what happened to her. Leo Terrell, a lawyer in the Los Angeles area, appeared on the Bryan Suits show on Friday, and argued that, as distasteful as it is, the attorney for the school district was not only right to do these things, but had a duty to do so in order to defend his client.  Mr. Terrell is correct, but I think that this assertion needs to be tempered with an admonition to the school district for allowing its lawyer to go down that dark legal alley.

Somewhere along the way, someone should have stood up and demanded that in the name of decency, these tactics should not have been used.

The school district has since severed itself from Mr. Wyatt, but the time for that was when he brought up this strategy and insisted on it, not after he follows it through in court. What should have happened was for the school district’s leadership and general counsel to tell Mr. Wyatt to not accuse the young girl of facilitating her own molestation, and that smearing her by implying that if she had a sexual history, then she should have known that sleeping with a teacher, is wrong.  The right thing to do was to find a way to defend the school district without blaming a child for being injured by one of its employees.  There has to be a better way.

I don’t necessarily agree that the school district was culpable in this case, but the leaders of Los Angeles schools should be ashamed of themselves.  The court cases that assert that a minor can give voluntary consent to sex with an adult need to be overturned and forgotten.  Their use can only widen a hole through which child molesters will escape.

1 Comment

  1. Sadly true… Had that been one of ‘my’ daughters, the outcome would have been different, and I’d be doing 20-life…

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