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The director of affairs for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Amanda Grady Sexton, appeared surprised by the verdict and hoped other jurisdictions would become involved in pursuing more charges.
“There must be accountability for those who use their position of authority to sexually exploit children in their care,” she said. “Sadly, today, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts failed to truly hold Howie Leung responsible for his horrific crimes. However, we know that it’s still possible for other jurisdictions to seek legal justice for the children Leung harmed.”
Grady Sexton applauded “the tremendous strength of the young survivor in this case and knows that her courage will help other victims to disclose sexual abuse and to begin the healing process.” She said perpetrators would “no longer be able to rely on a culture of silence when we ensure that children are educated about sexual abuse and believed when they speak out.”
July 19, 2023
“The court’s decision will be incredibly impactful because they affirmed that safety is a compelling public interest,” said Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
“While most speech is protected, not all speech is protected,” Schollett added. “One form of speech that is not protected is true threats.”
The coalition is planning to use the latest precedent to spread awareness of the protection options available to victims when it comes to online offenses, Schollett said.
July 17, 2023
Advocates for survivors of domestic violence and abuse are applauding the New Hampshire Supreme Court after a unanimous decision Thursday ceded no ground to a man accused of targeting a woman with violent and sexual images and messages online.
Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Sexual Violence, which filed an amicus brief in the case, said she was glad to see the court decide this case on the merits.
“I think the most important message from this opinion is to offenders, which is that you cannot terrorize people and simply call it free speech,” she said.
Schollett said the stalking in this case was perpetrated entirely online, but it had the same effect as in-person stalking, which is to subject a victim to an ongoing state of terror.
“The power of stalking is that it keeps the victim in a perpetual state of fear and hypervigilance, and the Supreme Court recognized the necessity of protecting victims from further abuse in this case by deciding that it’s a compelling state interest,” she said.
“We hope that this case means that in future cases the court will look carefully at online stalking and recognize the very real threat that it is,” she added.
June 30, 2023