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The “Weinstein Effect” and Updates to California Sexual Assault Laws

Posted on in Criminal Defense

sexual assault, San Jose sexual harassment defense lawyer,  Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment, workplace harassmentThe news has been filled with discussion of sexual assault and sexual harassment in recent months, due to a number of accusations against high-profile public figures. The allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have been especially influential, leading to scrutiny of sexual assault laws and charges of workplace harassment.

This increased interest has been dubbed the “Weinstein effect,” and it has not only led to the possibility of more people being accused of sexual assault, but it has also resulted in lawmakers making changes to sex crime laws.

A Possible End to Secret Settlements

One area of concern that has been raised during the debate surrounding sexual assault allegations is the prevalence of settlements that involve confidentiality agreements. In cases involving Weinstein and other public figures, accusers have accepted monetary settlements which required them to sign non-disclosure agreements, restricting them from discussing the allegations in the news or releasing information about the case.

Advocates for victims of sexual assault have claimed that these types of agreements allow perpetrators of sex crimes to escape justice. California state Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) has announced that she plans to introduce legislation which will ban confidentiality agreements in settlements of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sex discrimination cases.

While Levya has stated that this bill will hold sexual predators accountable for their crimes, others believe that a more nuanced approach is necessary. In some situations, confidentiality agreements can protect victims from negative attention or retaliation, and a lack of incentive to settle may make it more difficult to reach a resolution in harassment or assault cases.

Other Recent Changes to California Law

In addition to this new bill, California has made a number of other recent changes to state laws surrounding sexual assault and harassment, including:

  • The Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights ensures that people who report sexual assault are informed of their rights and are provided with birth control. It also requires law enforcement agencies to preserve the results of rape kit tests for a minimum of 20 years for unsolved cases.

  • In 2016, California eliminated the statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assaults committed after December 31, 2016, and it passed a law requiring mandatory minimum jail time and prohibiting probation for people convicted of sexual assault.

Contact a San Jose, CA Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer

With the high level of public attention to sex crime cases, any charges of sexual assault or sexual harassment will be taken very seriously. If you have been accused of a sex crime, it is incredibly important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. At the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson, we will ensure that your rights are protected during a criminal investigation and provide you with the defense you need to reach a positive outcome to your case. Contact a San Jose sexual assault defense lawyer today at 408-246-3004 to schedule a free consultation.


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