DeSean v Sanger Amicus Brief (No. 101330-2)
The Sexual Assault Protection Order Act (SAPOA) allows victims of unwanted sexual contact to seek civil protection orders against perpetrators. When a petitioner seeks a SAPO based on non-consensual sexual penetration, they are not required to prove the respondent’s intent. The key question is whether the petitioner had the capacity to consent. If the answer is no, the respondent cannot raise an affirmative defense based on their reasonable belief otherwise.
This amicus curiae brief supports the appellant, Carmella DeSean, in a case involving sexual assault protection orders (SAPOs) in Washington State. SAPOs are civil remedies designed to provide expedient relief for the safety and well-being of sexual assault survivors. The inclusion of an affirmative defense of reasonable belief in SAPO proceedings would undermine the purpose of these orders and deter survivors from seeking protection.
The Washington Supreme Court held that permitting a criminal affirmative defense in SAPO proceedings would create unnecessary barriers for survivors and undermine the purpose of these orders.
A special thank you to our co-counsel Richard Lumley of Gordon Thomas Honeywell, LLP. FVAP would also like to thank the following partners who co-signed our amicus brief: King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, SU School of Law Family Law Center, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, The Network for Victim Recovery of DC, and Sexual Violence Law Center.