Proposed Rape Shield Statute Shields Victim’s History in Civil Cases

If passed, a new bill in New Jersey would change the current Rape Shield Law.  A Rape Shield Law is a law that prevents a rape victim’s sexual history from coming into court under certain circumstances.  Under New Jersey’s present Rape Shield Law, the general rule is that a victim’s sexual history with people other than the defendant cannot come into court in criminal cases except in certain circumstances.


If the new bill is passed the law will change so that in civil cases, in order to use information about the victim’s sexual history as it relates to someone other than the defendant, the party seeking admittance would need to show good cause and that the evidence is material to proving that the semen or resulting condition of the victim (i.e. pregnancy or disease) was caused by someone other than the defendant.

This bill could make it more difficult for employers who are falsely accused of sexual harassment in the workplace to prove their innocence, and this is why.  Normally in such cases, discovery and evidence is allowed on the fact that the sexual harassment was welcome, that the alleged victim involved herself in sexual activity in the workplace, and evidence concerning her sexual lifestyle.  However, under the new bill, none of this evidence would be admissible unless it was material to proving that the semen or a condition resulting from the sexual activity was from someone other than the defendant.  Therefore, anytime an employer is accused of sexual harassment that does not involve semen in the alleged victim or a resulting condition, evidence of the victim’s prior sexual history will not be allowed in.  Since sexual harassment charges can arise without such condition or semen, it may be much easier to convict an employer in those cases.

For more information on Sexual Assault visit my website Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Sex Crimes Defense attorney at