The Convicted Teacher Elkis Hermida

In Nov. 2013 Los Angeles Unified School District lawyers fighting a civil lawsuit told the court that a 14-year-old child was mature enough go consent to having sex with her 28-year-old teacher so the relationship was partially her fault (the teacher was already convicted in criminal court).

That’s right, a 14-year-old child.As Reported by radio station KPCC.

The case involved a math teacher at Thomas Edison Middle School in Southeast Los Angeles who in December 2010 began a six-month sexual relationship with a girl who went to the school. The teacher, Elkis Hermida, was convicted of lewd acts against a child and sentenced in July 2011 to three years in state prison.

The girl’s family filed a civil lawsuit against L.A. Unified, claiming the district was negligent and the experience had emotionally damaged the girl, endangering any future romantic relationships she might have.

During the three week civil trial, district lawyers denied that L.A. Unified had any knowledge of the relationship, argued the girl knew what she was doing when she chose to have sex with Hermida and suggested the girl was to blame for her situation, not LAUSD.

As the father of two children, thankfully past that age, I can attest to the fact that a 14-year-old barely has the maturity to select what to have for lunch, forget about sex.  But wait the lawyers argument got worse.

Making a decision as to whether or not to cross the street when traffic is coming, that takes a level of maturity and that’s a much more dangerous decision than to decide, ‘Hey, I want to have sex with my teacher,'” Wyatt told KPCC.

Crossing the freaking street?  Really. The law recognizes that, despite the fact that some of these children
boast superficial sophistication or physical maturity, they are still
vulnerable to predators who manipulate their developing minds in order
to prey on their young bodies.

This lawyer is saying that as soon as someone is mature enough to look both ways before crossing,  has the mental capacity to worry about STDs or that she might become pregnant.

While there is a story behind the “numbers,” it is a well-known fact that teenage pregnancy inflicts heavy costs on the teen mother, her child and society. No discussion of statutory rape is complete without considering the impact of teen pregnancy on American culture. A wealth of research conducted over the past several years suggests that teen pregnancy and out-of-wedlock motherhood are a national dilemma. A teen mother must overcome enormous hurdles in raising her child as a single parent. A recent study summarizes the challenges:children born of adolescent mothers face many obstacles. Studies have found that they are apt to do worse in school, have poorer health yet receive less health care, are more likely to be incarcerated and themselves have higher rates of childbearing. ( Teen Pregnancy A Major Problem in the U.S.”Women’s International Network News Summer 1997)

Making it worse is the fact he was her teacher!  Someone in a position of authority who his going to have greater influence on the girl than other adult acquaintances.

Besides all of the other reasons, the Teacher’s actions was a violation of the trust parents put in schools and schools put in teachers. By arguing that a 14-year-old is mature enough to consent to sex with a 28-year-teacher the School District was telling all the other parents that they were unworthy of such as trust. 

A leading expert, law professor Marci Hamilton of the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School in New York, called the school district’s approach in the civil trial “outrageous,” and accused it of “engaging in scorched earth tactics.”

“If this is a correct interpretation of California law, California is in the dark ages and against the great weight of the social science on brain and emotional development,” said Hamiliton, who added, “the legislature needs to take this up.

“This reasoning is incoherent, especially in the school context,” she went on. “It would have the court focus on the child’s consent without taking the authority and power of the adult into account…This reasoning takes a page out of the old ‘consent’ defenses for rape based on a woman’s sexual history, which have been thoroughly discredited.”

.(…) L.A. Unified also persuaded Judge Cho to place the girl’s name on the jury’s verdict form, which provided an opportunity for jurors to find her comparatively negligent, or at fault.

Cho admitted his ruling was unusual, saying, “There is currently no published decision in California” allowing the consideration of a child victim’s comparative negligence in a school sex abuse case.

The judge “went beyond the bounds of common sense,” said Hamilton.

Cho’s move surprised the girl’s attorney, Frank Perez.

“I have never seen a verdict form where the child has been listed as partially responsible for his or her own molestation,” said Perez.

In the end, the jury didn’t fill out the verdict form. It ruled in favor of LAUSD, accepting the district’s argument that it had no knowledge of the relationship and therefore was not at fault.

Perez said the case is being appealed, in part because the girl’s name was on the verdict form.

This is a sign of how low our society has become.  Our FIRST obligation is to protect our kids, this school district blew it by allowing its lawyers to argue the child was old enough to consent. The administrators who approved the attorney’s actions should be fired immediately.