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L.A. Unified says girl, 14, could consent to sex with teacher

L.A. Unified officials are coming under fire for allowing their attorneys to argue that a 14-year-old student was mature enough to consent to sex with her middle school math teacher.

The arguments were made in a civil case that was filed last year by the student, who was seeking financial compensation from the district. She said she suffered emotional trauma from a five-month sexual relationship nearly four years ago with her teacher at Edison Middle School in Los Angeles. Full Article

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  1. sérviam

    This is ridiculous! Recent neurological research has showed that child brain development continues through age 25. At 14, a child isn’t even old enough to drive, purchase tobacco products or alcoholic beverages, own a gun, vote, serve in the armed forces, or even purchase pornography! But now they are old enough to consent to sex? Well, that’s ok because our courts have upheld rulings saying that children as young as 10 or 11 years old could be adjudicated (or convicted) for child molestation. This really highlights the flaws in our adversarial “justice” system, in that a lawyer can make an argument that defies common sense so long as the judge buys it. Thanks to the doctrine of stare decisis, it takes decades to overturn such rulings.

    • Q

      Hi sérviam

      Just saying; 14yo kids do in fact drive cars; sometimes stolen and other times “borrowed” from their parents. They do in fact get tobacco products, alcohol, own guns, usually stolen, and in other countries kids as young as 6 or 7 fight in wars. Just saying.

      • sérviam

        Hello “Q”,
        with all due respect — your point is? Other than narrating an exercise in Hume’s Law, I’m not sure what you’re implying. The fact that children are forced to fight in wars does not somehow magically condone a 30 or 40-year-old man having sex with a child.

        So if kids make mistakes then the adults who are liable for their delinquencies (or for taking advantage of their inexperience and immaturity) should not have to answer to a higher standard? Are you saying that a 30 or 40-year old-man having sex with a 14-year-old is in some way acceptable because she “consented” to it? Who is the adult in the situation? What if it was your daughter? Which of the two parties is more likely to regret the act once they reach adulthood? Should a 30, 40, or 50-year-old man not be held to a higher standard of care than a young girl (or boy)? Does not a special relationship exist between an adult and a child?

        • sérviam

          I’m very sad to see that my last comment has received two negative votes as I believe this may be an indication that people seem to think it’s ok for a 30 or 40-year-old man to have sex a 14-year-old kid. Apparently, the people who voted my comment down seem to feel that a 14-year-old kid is just as accountable as someone twice their age. This is sad. I don’t believe that having one’s photograph mired in public shame on an internet website for the rest of their life is appropriate for committing such an offense. But I do believe that someone that much older should know better and I believe that especially where a special relationship exists (e.g. between a teacher and student), a much higher standard of care should be imposed.

  2. Q

    I don’t agree with the view that a 15yo is incapable of consenting to intimate relations with an adult. When I was in my 30s & 40s I had a few experiences that could have went that way with underage girls in the condo complex I lived in. Of course I squashed any such notion the underage girls made have had, but the much overlooked and completely denied fact that everyone (even 15yo girls) has a sexual instinct that they are born with really needs to be considered by the sex Nazi’s. I temabe when I was that age, sex amongst my peers was very common.

  3. mike

    I went to high school in Italy and the age of consent was 14. Not every high school kid who has sex is a lifelong victim that can only be made complete again if the government punishes the person they thought they were having consensual sex with in perpetuity. I have a bigger problem with it being student/teacher relationship. This was the wrong place to use this as a defense…unfortunately, there are a lot of other teenagers labeled for life that didn’t.

    • Joe

      I am also familiar with countries that have a more realistic age of consent and not the Victorian one of 18 like in California. But I am very certain that all of these countries address in their legal code teacher / student relationships as those are never acceptable.

      However, even then, the individual case gets taken into account when prosecuting the case and pronouncing sentence. The actions by both players are evaluated for what they are and legal consequences (there always are) are established accordingly.

      The assumption that all minors (up to a realistic point) are categorically incapable of participating in a sexual relationship with whomever is just bizarre. Some are and some aren’t. This still does not make such conduct legal, but there is an evaluation. That is what judges are for.

      The same thing happened recently in Montana when a judge, with rather poor phrasing, pointed out the student was a very willing participant with her teacher. Needless to say all hell broke loose.

      What I am taking away from this case is that any kind of sex with a person under xx years is horrible, period, and the child is damaged for life (never mind the fact that this very girl would probably charged as an adult had she committed a crime on the very day of the sexual involvement). Consequently the defendant will be punished for life.

      UNLESS there is money involved. Now all of a sudden the ‘victim’s’ conduct is a factor.

      This society’s hypocrisy never fails to outdo itself…

  4. Robert Curtis

    The age of consent is a very controversial one. Just over a 100 years ago girls were married off in are own country at 12 to 15 years old. Sounds sick I know but consider the time we live in today…The information age. With so much access to what is available online kids aren’t kids as we traditionally would like to think of them.

    Okay, lets say you keep your child away from porn and the other dark stuff floating around in cyber land…the other kids (that are online) they’re hanging around in school do influence. What are we pre-internet information dinosaurs to do? Perhaps we need to grow up and make adjustments for society what it is and not for how we wish it to be. Bingo!!

  5. rhed whitcomb

    I, for one, am glad to see the LAUSD making this argument. For every legitimate victim of abuse or harassment there is at least one more “cashing in” on the advice of an attorney (who gets a third of whatever they win).
    For years, school districts have forked over whatever anyone asked for in these cases just to make them go away. Well, this one is the straw that broke the camel’s back; she probably asked for $50 million and so, yes, she did “open herself up” to this argument.
    Sex with underage girls is wrong; But not every girl who has sex with an older man suffers emotional trauma for the rest of her life. There are a whole lot of people making big money by crying “pain and suffering” all the time. I’m glad to see the school district growing a pair and not caving in the these bloodsucking leeches.

    • Harry

      The school district is having its cake and trying to clean its face by blaming the lawyer. Hypocrites.

  6. Ron

    Age of consent in Idaho and Hawaii is 14. Many states it is 16.

    • sérviam

      Ron, did you know that the age of consent for which you reference in Hawaii only applies when the 14-year-old is consenting to sex with someone less than five years older?

  7. Norm Pattis

    Be care about the age of consent and sex with teachers. Many states, including my home state, Connecticut, criminalize sex between a teacher and students even if the student is older than the age of consent; even, in fact, if the students is a legal adult 18 or older.

  8. Timmr

    The odd thing is these school boards support the presence restrictions for former offenders who as a group commit 5% of the new offenses, and turn around and absolve themselves of responsibility of preventing abuses from the 95% not on the registry, some of which will be on their campuses legally and in the churches, ball fields and homes of their students. That being said, I believe the legal system has failed to prevent the victimization of children by people in authority, teachers, fathers, pastors, what have you, many of whom have emotional ages of the 14 year olds they contact. And I believe that approach will always fail. It would take a serious look at the factors that lead to these abuses and the remedies that restore people to health and happiness, more of a revolution than a reform of laws.

  9. escobar

    Taxpayers fund school personnel to have sex with children students are not liable is what is the school district seems to be their stance here so are parents going to pull their kids from district in troves?

  10. Michael

    Well, when i was in high school, i sure thought they could.

  11. ab

    Many logical reasons could be listed explaining how intimate relations between an authority figure and a subordinate put both parties in difficult positions if something went wrong. Wrong isn’t legally wrong, or even morally wrong, but simply one individual not being satisfied with the other and the divide not being worked out prior to returning to the professional environment where one of them is the boss and the other is a subordinate. On these grounds I don’t condone what occurred between the student and her teacher. Nor would I condone the activity if both were over the age of consent.

    However to argue that a pubescent person can’t consent just because of their age is total crap. Granted everyone matures at a different rate and girls tend to mature a little bit before boys and there are some forty and fifty year olds who haven’t had sex yet. Just because someone can technically give consent doesn’t mean they should and just because someone legally can’t consent doesn’t mean that technically they can’t. As others have pointed out the age of consent varies from state to state and country to country. An underage person in California isn’t necessarily underage somewhere else and I have always held it to be improper to apply the rules of one place to another if the rules aren’t all the same.

    Legally the law was broken and some school codes of conduct were probably violated too. Pubescent persons, just like anyone else can do some really stupid things. I use the word pubescent instead of teenager because puberty doesn’t always start at thirteen and anyone who has started puberty has a slightly higher curiosity about themselves and others from a sensual or sexual point of view. If pubescent boys are held accountable for their actions, pubescent girls ought to be as well.

    The double edged nature of taking responsibility where it should be taken is not doing any society any good. I know of a case similar to this one from a number of years ago that involved a 13 year old and a school staff member. Although in that case the 13 year old bragged about enjoying her experiences to the point where a year later her statements which had been repeated by other students and some of their parents in police interviews, prevented her from winning a civil suit against the school.

    Like someone else said not everyone is an actual victim, despite the laws being written to automatically classify them that way for their own protection. We need a better way to separate the real victims from those who consented or those seeking revenge. Muddying the waters by ignoring the more complex reality is actually doing more harm than good and nothing will change if society doesn’t first unravel the bigger picture.

  12. Michale

    There seems to be confusion here over a criminal vs. civil trail and the rules of evidence for each. This article can clear some of this up:

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