Aiming to close a legal loophole that allowed
Campos' measure, AB 29, would make the age of consent 18 in civil cases involving sexual intercourse between two parties. That would clarify state law, which some California courts have interpreted as allowing those as young as 14 to consent to sex with adults. Criminal law generally holds that sexual activity between adults and those under 18 is illegal.
"It's ridiculous to argue that a child can consent to sex," Campos said in an interview. "No victim of sexual abuse, especially a child, should ever be blamed."
A jury last fall found L.A. Unified was not liable for damages in the case. District officials argued that school staff did not know of the abuse and that the eighth-grade teacher and student took pains to conceal their relationship until it was reported to a science teacher by the victim's friend.
But L.A. Unified officials came under fire after their legal defense was reported in a radio broadcast this month by KPCC. The district subsequently severed ties with W. Keith Wyatt, the outside attorney who had represented L.A. Unified on this and other cases for 27 years.
Jennifer A. Drobac, an
Campos said she is open to refining her measure.
In doing so, the court said, legislators "implicitly acknowledged that, in some cases at least, a minor may be capable of giving legal consent to sexual relations." That language has been picked up by other courts in other cases, Drobac said.
But Campos said her measure will clear up any ambiguity over legislative intentions on the issue. "It's not a gray area," she said. "It's black and white."