STATEMENT by Lauren Book on NH bill to protect pedophiles

Last week, a New Hampshire lawmaker filed a bill that would effectively empower pedophiles and sexual predators to offend without fear of prosecution. Rep. William Marsh’s bill, H.B. 106, which would require victims of sexual assault to ‘corroborate their testimony’ if the accused has no prior sexual conviction, is not only irresponsible and reprehensible, it is downright heinous and unjust. Marsh’s bill would raise the already high burden of proof to a standard of near impossibility for sexual assault cases – and that’s just for adults…imagine the impact for child victims of sexual abuse. Seventy-five percent of child victims of sexual abuse do not tell anyone for at least a year due to shame, blame and guilt, meaning DNA evidence is almost always off the table. Other ‘corroborations’ including witnesses or photographs are not readily available, due to the intimate nature of this life-altering crime. The message Marsh’s bill sends to predators, the public, and victims of sexual assault is clear: we are OK with letting these horrific crimes occur, and, plain and simple, care more about pedophiles and sex predators than we do about victims. Sexual assault is one of the least reported of all crimes, and also has one of the lowest false-reporting rates. When victims do come forward, we should do all we possibly can to support and help them seek justice. In the end, the truth will prevail…unless H.B. 106 becomes law.

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