Rape and sexual assault are very serious crimes, and we applaud efforts to protect both male and female students on California campuses. However, SB 976 introduced by State Senators Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) would initiate harmful changes with disastrous consequences for California’s sons.
The bill adopts the “preponderance of evidence” standard. That is a lower bar than the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard used in the criminal courts or the middle-ground “clear and convincing evidence” standard typically used in matters with serious consequences to the accused. In the college setting, the accused will be saddled with a lifetime “sex offender” stigma because of an ambiguous social interaction, not a forcible rape.
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