Attention WISE women, please contact Speaker Busch 410-841-3800 ASAP and ask him to support the Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act (HB0301/SB0270) and urge him to get Chair Vallario to vote on the bill, which would (hopefully) get it out of committee. This bill has been introduced 5 times and has yet to leave Vallario’s committee. NOW is the time! We need to treat sexual assault and violence like the crime it is!
Under this bill, the state would only be allowed to REQUEST (to a judge) that a perpetrator’s past acts be used as evidence if the defendant 1) claimed an adult victim consented or 2) claimed a child victim was lying.
Here are some key points about this Bill:
• Help demonstrate that a victim did not consent by showing past sexual predatory acts. Otherwise, it is he said/she said and it is hard enough to come forward and go to trial and then not be believed because past acts couldn’t be introduced.
• At least 35 states are able to introduce this kind of evidence, Maryland does not.
• In the vast majority of crimes, including if someone robs you or shoots you, the perpetrator’s past behavior can be introduced but if they sexually assault you, their past behavior cannot be introduced. But the victim’s past can be introduced in some situations.
• Currently, a perpetrator’s past acts can be brought forward only if they assaulted the same victim.
• In one case where a stepfather raped two sisters, at each trial, the rape of the other sister could not be introduced.
• This bill levels the playing field between perpetrator and victim because currently the rape shield can be pierced and victims sexual past or allegations can be brought up in a trial but not the perpetrators.
• Brings MD in alignment with federal laws
From Maryland Legislative Action for Women (MLAW):
Support SB270 –
Evidence of Sexually Assaultive Behavior – Admissibility (Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act of 2018)
SB270 is one of the bills on our 2018 Agenda and will be heard by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee today, February 7th. Please take action as described. We have included the emails for the committee members at the bottom of the email for your convenience.
Senate Bill 270 -Evidence of Sexually Assaultive Behavior – Admissibility (Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act of 2018) closes dangerous loopholes by permitting the judge to admit evidence of other sexual misconduct without risking wrongful convictions. This legislation requires a judge to review the evidence and rule on its applicability BEFORE it can ever be used in trial.
Serial rape is a real phenomenon. Forensic psychologist David Lisak found a high rate of repeat sexual offenses among a small number of men. In a study where 120 men admitted to committing a sexual assault, they averaged about five victims per offender. Maryland law has, to some extent, recognized that sexual offenders may continue to re-offend. For this reason, Maryland adopted public sex offender registries to ensure greater supervision of sexually violent predators. But this important public protection only comes after a conviction for a sex offense.
In Maryland, serial predators are able to hide evidence of a serial pattern of rape from juries. Therefore, decisions to find defendants not guilty come from a jury of 12 people who were never given all of the relevant evidence. Thirty-seven other states and the federal courts ALLOW this evidence to be considered after proper judicial review.
In Maryland, defendants can explain away DNA evidence of rape by claiming that the sex was consensual and calling into question the credibility of the victim, but the prosecutor is prohibited from introducing evidence from other victims to overcome this argument.
We strongly urge you to contact members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to register your support for SB270.
Email addresses for the Judicial Proceedings Committee members (cut and paste into your email application):
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Bob.Cassilly@senate.state.md.us; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women (MLAW) is a statewide coalition of women’s groups and individuals formed to provide a non-partisan, independent, voice for Maryland women and families. The group advocates for progressive legislation and policy that promotes and protects the well being of Maryland women and their families and provides them opportunities to develop their full potential.