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The Washington State Supreme Court recently held that a 13 year old student could not be found contributorily at fault for having sex with her teacher. The case stems from a 2001 incident in which the student, an eighth grader at the time, became involved in a sexual relationship with a 26-year-old teacher named Steven Diaz. Diaz was subsequently arrested and pled guilty.

The victim’s family sued the Grant County School District and the Royal Middle School principal for negligent hiring and negligent supervision of Diaz. The defendants asserted that the girl “had a duty to protect herself but failed to do so.”

The Court disagreed with the defendants. The Court offered the following explanation: A child under the age of 16 may not have contributory fault assessed against her for her participation in a relationship.

This was a very good decision by the court. Vulnerable persons–whether our children or our senior citizens–need to be protected from abuse, particularly by people in positions of trust and confidence.

For more information about the case, read the following links: Girl Ruled Blameless in Sex With Teacher; Supreme Court Rules Girl Not at Fault For Sex With Teacher.

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