Civil Courts in US Saying Minor’s Can Consent to Sex with Adults — Even Though Criminal Law Says Otherwise

You can be a victim in the criminal case, but you can actually be found at fault in the civil case….particularly if you are a minor who accused an adult of having non-consensual sex with you.

Statutory rape statutes are intended to protect underage children from sexual predators: No state has an age of consent lower than 16.   But attorneys have successfully argued that children can make decisions about whom they have sex with — and in some cases, those attorneys are winning.  For example, in 2010, a 28-year old middle-school math teacher began a six-month sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female student at his school.  Although, the teacher was convicted in criminal court of lewd acts with a child, and he went to prison, the girl’s family failed in their suit against LA Unified School District in a civil case.

The School district defended itself by arging that they are not negligent because they didn’t know about and that the 14-year-old girl was at fault because she consented to the sex.

The school district argued “Why shouldn’t she be responsible for that?”

Even though under criminal law in California, the age of consent is 18 years old, there have been two rulings that say minors can consent to sex.

The attorney for the school district argued that children make decisions all the time, e.g.,  whether or not to cross the street and that their implications were much more dangerous than deciding, whether to have sex with a teacher.

So you can be a victim in the criminal case, but you can actually be found at fault in the civil case.

When the California legislature changed the law … the California Supreme Court interpret that as the legislature saying, ‘Well, juveniles may be able to consent in certain circumstances.  There are 12 other states, and perhaps more, where civil law is diverting from the criminal law treatment of adolescent and juvenile consent.

This means that in a civil and criminal case with the same facts and same people involved, the same consent will be treated with diametrically opposite results under the law, including New York, Illinois, Maryland and Louisiana.

You could take a 9-year-old and say that a 9-year-old could consent, under this reading of the change of law in California.

Learn more: Consenting Statutory Rape

This entry was posted in UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Bookmark the permalink.