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New bill designed to protect sexual assault victims passes the Senate

Kai Porter
March 06, 2017 11:07 PM

Senate lawmakers unanimously passed a bill that would keep the names of rape victims private until charges are filed.

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Sen. Jacob Candelaria believes the bill will give the same rights to privacy as the accused.

"Number one, we're trying to prevent intimidation. We're trying to prevent public shaming. We're trying to ensure that if charges are indeed never filed, and we know for a fact that in many instances of sexual assault, charges are never brought for a variety of reasons, that at the very least, if that woman or man hasn't gotten justice, at the very least they're secure in the knowledge that if charges were not brought their privacy will at least be protected," said Candelaria.
 
Peter St. Cyr is the executive director for the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and says the bill is an anti-transparency bill that makes it harder for the public to understand what is going on in the community.

“I can see some scenarios where shielding the names would be bad and make it more difficult for the accused to mount a just defense and they have the right to have all the information they want in order to step up and provide a good defense,” said St. Cyr.
 
St. Cyr says he looked at three years of public records requests dealing with rape cases at the University of New Mexico. He says not one was filed by the suspect with the intent of harassing a victim or witness. He says all the requests were made by the media, defense attorneys and insurance companies.

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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