Rape Victims' Privacy Rights to be Considered by House Committee on Tuesday, March 28th
Amanda Grady Sexton
Concord, NH – Tuesday, March 28th, Senate Bill 9, a bill to strengthen rape victims’ privacy rights, will be heard by the NH House Judiciary Committee. The public hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in Room 208 of the Legislative Office Building.
This legislation was introduced in response to a recent NH Supreme Court case in which the rapist and convicted murderer of college student, Lizzi Marriott, appealed his conviction before the NH Supreme Court. Mazzaglia’s defense argued that and irrelevant claims about the Lizzi’s sexual past should have been admitted at trial. On appeal, the NH Supreme Court decided to unseal this private information that had previously been protected under Rape Shield law—a decision which they reversed amid outcry from the family of Lizzi Marriott, NHCADSV, victims’ rights organizations across the country, and NH’s entire congressional delegation. This bill would ensure that the private, unrelated sexual history of victims will remain sealed in all NH court proceedings, including on appeal.
“This bill establishes critical protections for victims of sexual assault that are brave enough to participate in the criminal justice process. Without this safeguard in place, rapists are able to use irrelevant information about their victims in an effort to justify sexual assault. We encourage the House Judiciary Committee to support Senate Bill 9 and send a clear message to survivors that their privacy will be protected should they choose to come forward,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, Director of Public Affairs at the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
SB 9 was unanimously passed by the Senate last month and has the support of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and its 13 member programs, the NH Department of Justice, the NH Association of Chiefs of Police, and the ACLU-NH.
About the Coalition
NHCADSV is a statewide network of 13 independent member programs committed to ending sexual violence, domestic violence, and stalking, through direct services to victims, community education, and public policy advocacy. The NHCADSV and its 13 member programs do not discriminate based on gender, age, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental, or emotional ability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socio-economic status, race, national origin, immigration status, or religious or political affiliation. For more information visit www.nhcadsv.org.