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Court looks at issue of ‘unwarranted intrusion’ into private lives of those alleging sexual assault

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The school district learned that a “teenaged family friend” subjected the plaintiff to another “sexual incident” in 2013. This subsequent molestation caused at least some of the plaintiff’s emotional distress injuries and related damages, the district alleged.

The plaintiff filed a motion seeking to exclude the evidence of the 2013 molestation. She invoked sections 1106 and 352 of the Evidence Code as a shield against admitting the evidence.

Section 1106(a) – which aims to protect those alleging sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual battery – bars courts from admitting evidence of the plaintiff’s sexual conduct to prove that she consented or suffered no injury.

Section 783(d) of the Evidence Code states that the court can allow the defendant to introduce evidence about the plaintiff’s sexual conduct if it is relevant under section 780, which generally covers witness credibility, and if it is admissible under section 352, which permits the court to exclude relevant evidence in certain circumstances.

The trial court excluded the challenged evidence. It held that no shield statute protected this evidence and that the evidence was relevant and admissible relating to the question of whether the teacher’s conduct or a combination of his conduct and the subsequent molestation solely caused the plaintiff’s emotional distress.

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