Author Essays, Interviews, and Excerpts, Books for the News, Commentary, Law

Sexual Exploitation of Teenagers: A Postscript

Jennifer Ann Drobac’s Sexual Exploitation of Teenagers: Adolescent Development, Discrimination, and Consent Lawwhich focuses on the precarious positions, legal and otherwise, occupied by developing adolescents when sexually harassed by adults, including supervisors, teachers, and mentorswill publish in January 2016.  Following a recent change to California civil law spurred by Drobac’s scholarship, the following serves as postscript to the book.

In November 2014, after I completed this manuscript, I spoke with Karen Foshay, a news reporter who was covering a case involving a California middle school student.[1] Los Angeles School District lawyers used the girl’s consent to sex with her teacher to defend a civil action filed by her family. Then, after Arun Rath interviewed me on All Things Considered, I received calls from several California legislative aides regarding possible changes to California civil law.[2] In July 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed S.B. 14, effective January 1, 2016. This bill creates California Civil Code section 1708.5.5, which will prohibit the use of a minor’s consent in a civil action against an adult in a position of authority.[3] It is not clear how this law will affect California civil cases involving adults who do not occupy positions of authority. Additionally, one cannot tell how this new state law will affect federal cases, and particularly those filed under Titles IX and VII. However, this postscript demonstrates that one person can make a difference. You can make a difference.


[1] Karen Foshay, “LAUSD argued middle schooler can consent to sex with teacher,” 89.3 KPCC, Nov. 13, 2014, available at (interview begins at 2:28) (last accessed Aug. 5, 2015); see also Larry Mantle, “KPCC investigation reveals questionable tactics LAUSD used to defend rape lawsuit,” 89.3 KPCC, Nov. 13, 2014, available at (interview begins at 4:19) (last accessed Aug. 5, 2015).

[2] Arun Rath, “Criminal Law Says Minors Can’t Consent—But Some Civil Courts Disagree,” All Things Considered, Nov. 16, 2014, available at (interview begins at 3:44) (last accessed Aug. 5, 2015).

[3] Patrick McGreevy, “Gov. Brown signs bill closing loophole in sexual assault law,” LA Times, July 16, 2015, available at (last accessed Aug. 5, 2015).

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