Fresno County District ‘Victim Blaming’ Student Who Accused Coach of Abuse, Attorney Says

Alfred Gallegos, an attorney who has litigated sexual abuse cases, leads the Family Team at Central California Legal Services, which provides free civil legal assistance to low-income individuals, families, organizations and communities.

Gallegos said although maybe there’s been requests similar to the district’s in court before, he hasn’t come across one like it in his 26 years practicing law.

“I find those questions pretty offensive,” he said.

In California, there are laws that prohibit a defendant from delving into the sexual history of a victim, he said.

Under state law, evidence of the plaintiff’s sexual conduct is not admissible by the defendant to prove “consent by the plaintiff or absence of injury to the plaintiff.”

He said although the questions are not necessarily irrelevant, they are not allowed to be asked under state law.

“It is in a way humiliating the victim, and it’s trying to shed the light away from the defendant,” Gallegos said. “They are trying to shame, and perhaps, re-traumatize” the victim to get her to dismiss the suit.”

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