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When claims of sexual misconduct are made, two threads are often seen in the kinds of questions raised: Did she "invite it," and has he ever done it before? The way these questions are handled can determine the outcome of a sexual misconduct case. In 1995, Congress weighed in on whether these questions could be asked in civil cases in federal court and adopted two significant changes to the rules of evidence. One, revised Rule 412,4 extends "rape shield" protection to civil actions that claim sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment. The other, new Rule 415,5 allows plaintiffs to offer evidence of a defendant's commission of prior similar acts to prove that he is the kind of person who engages in such sexual misconduct, and thus to imply that he engaged in it on the occasion in question.

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1997 Wis. L. Rev. 1221-1273 (1997)