Capitol Alert

Los Angeles teacher sex case prompts bill on age of consent

Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, shown in December 2012 .
Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, shown in December 2012 .

California’s civil code would say that teenagers must be at least 18 to consent to sex under a bill Assemblywoman Nora Campos said she plans to introduce Monday, the Legislature’s first day of the 2015-16 session.

The state’s criminal code already says 18 is the age of consent, but a recent civil case in which the Los Angeles Unified School District argued that a 14-year-old girl consented to have sex with her 28-year-old teacher prompted Campos to call for a change.

“It is stunning that a 14-year-old girl would be considered responsible for the predatory behavior of a pedophile,” said a statement from Campos, D-San Jose. “This bill makes it absolutely clear that a child does not share the blame for predatory behavior. This blame the victim attitude in sexual assaults must stop.”

The teacher, Elkis Hermida, was convicted in 2011 on criminal charges of lewd acts against a child and sentenced to three years in prison, according to the Los Angeles Times. Last year, the girl sued the school district in a civil case seeking compensation for the emotional trauma of the months-long sexual relationship with her math teacher. The school district argued that she was a willing participant in the affair, and a Los Angeles jury found the district was not liable for damages.

Call Laurel Rosenhall, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1083. Follow her on Twitter @LaurelRosenhall.