Crime & Justice

Senate OKs bill barring sexual consent of minors as defense in civil suits

Former LAUSD teacher Elkis Hermida was convicted in 2011 of lewd acts with a child and sentenced to three years in state prison. KPCC revealed that the district argued in a civil suit last year that a 14-year-old girl who had sex with a male teacher shared responsibility, despite her age. Following that report, Sen. Lara introduced SB 14.
Former LAUSD teacher Elkis Hermida was convicted in 2011 of lewd acts with a child and sentenced to three years in state prison. KPCC revealed that the district argued in a civil suit last year that a 14-year-old girl who had sex with a male teacher shared responsibility, despite her age. Following that report, Sen. Lara introduced SB 14.
California Department of Justice

The California Senate has advanced a bill that prevents defendants in civil cases from claiming the sexual consent of a minor as a defense.

It comes after KPCC reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District argued last year that a 14-year-old girl who had sex with a male teacher shared responsibility, despite her age.

The bill by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) was approved unanimously Thursday. 

Lara, who introduced the legislation in the wake of KPCC's report, told lawmakers that SB 14 closes a loophole because defendants are not allowed to use similar arguments in criminal cases.

A civil jury cleared LAUSD of wrongdoing in the case on the grounds that its officials were unaware of the teacher's relationship with the student. After KPCC's report, L.A. Unified  severed its ties with the defense attorney who tried the case for the district.

The teacher in the case, Elkis Hermida, was sentenced in 2011 to three years in prison for lewd acts against a child.

The bill now moves to the Assembly.