- Girl, 14, had six-month relationship with math teacher Elkis Hermida, 28
- In 2011, Hermida was jailed for three years for lewd acts against a child
- W. Keith Wyatt was fired for arguing she agreed to the relationship
- General counsel said he had made inappropriate remarks during case
- Recently, girl filed civil case against Los Angeles Unified School District
- Alleged district was negligent and she had been emotionally damaged
- In defense, LAUSD said victim bore some responsibility for relationship
- Also mentioned girl's sexual history and said she was mature enough
- Judge ruled in favor of district; student's lawyer is now appealing case
In civil court proceedings, the Los Angeles Unified School District argued that the unnamed student should bear some responsibility for her relationship with Elkis Hermida. The district's general counsel said Friday it is removing attorney W. Keith Wyatt from future legal matters because of inappropriate remarks he made about the case.
Lawyers and advocates for sexual abuse victims criticized Wyatt's strategy of blaming the schoolgirl for agreeing to the sexual relationship.
Comment: 14 is not the age of consent in California. How could she agree?
The age of consent in California is 18. It is illegal for anyone to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor (someone under the age of 18), unless they are that person's spouse. California employs a tiered system where the greater the difference in age, the greater the penalty. If the person engaging in sex with a minor is less than 3 years older or younger than the minor, then they are guilty of a misdemeanor. If they are more than 3 years older than the minor then they are guilty of a felony. Those over the age of 21 engaging in sex with those under 16 are subjected to more harsh penalties.Really? Not if you have a conscienceless lawyer who is masterful at blaming the victim...
In July 2011, Hermida, who taught at Thomas Edison Middle School, was sentenced to three years in state prison after being convicted of lewd acts against a child. He has since been freed. However the school was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Speaking of the victim's 'responsibility' for the relationship, Keith Wyatt, LAUSD's attorney, told the public radio station KPCC: 'She lied to her mother so she could have sex with her teacher.
'She went to a motel in which she engaged in voluntary consensual sex with her teacher. Why shouldn't she be responsible for that?'
Recently, the girl filed a civil lawsuit against the school district, claiming the system was negligent and she had been emotionally traumatized by Hermida's actions. In its defense, LAUSD argued it had been unaware of the relationship between the student and her teacher, but cited a federal court decision saying a minor could consent to sex in some situations.
During the trial, Mr Wyatt also introduced the girl's sexual history and argued that she bore some of the responsibility for the half-year-long relationship, according to CBS Local.
At the end of the case, the judge ruled in favor of the district: LAUSD was cleared of wrongdoing by a civil jury, while the girl was not awarded any damages for the trauma she allegedly suffered.