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Prior Acts of Sexual Misconduct

Evidence of prior "bad acts" is generally not admissible in court.

Key point. The fact that a person accused of child molestation engaged in sexual misconduct in the past may not be relevant in establishing the person's guilt, unless the prior acts were substantially similar to the current allegations.

An Illinois court ruled that evidence regarding a priest's prior acts of sexual misconduct were not relevant and therefore were not admissible in proving that the priest molested a young boy. A minor (the "victim") sued a priest and a Roman Catholic Diocese on account of the priest's alleged molestation of the victim while the victim was an elementary school student at a parochial school. The victim claimed that the priest molested him sexually and physically in the principal's office during recess periods. A jury ruled in favor of the priest and diocese. The trial judge refused to allow the victim to present the following evidence to the jury: (1) ...

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Posted:
  • November 3, 1997

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