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Rape Shield Law under Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence

During a trial for an alleged sexual assault, there may be evidence concerning the alleged victim's sexual history that someone accused of the sexual assault wants to introduce.  Pennsylvania courts generally do not allow this type of evidence because the courts do not want the trial to shift focus from the innocence of the defendant to an attack on the alleged victim.  This specific statute is commonly known as the Rape Shield Statute.

In certain cases, however, the alleged victim's sexual history is relevant and admissible at trial.  If the issue at trial is whether the sexual act between the accused and the alleged victim was consensual, then the accused can admit evidence of other prior consensual, sexual acts with the alleged victim during trial.

Additionally, the accused may present the alleged victim's prior sexual history if that prior sexual history can show a motive for the alleged victim to lie about the alleged sexual assault or can show a motive for the alleged victim to seek retribution against the accused.

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