Critics say New Hampshire’s sex assault bill will protect predators
A sexual assault bill being considered by New Hampshire lawmakers has been designed to prevent wrongful convictions, but opponents have warned that it would unduly protect sexual predators and pedophiles.
The controversial bill would require victims of sexual assault to substantiate their testimony in case the defendant has no prior related conviction. The state's existing law does not require victims to substantiate their testimonies.
Republican Rep. William Marsh proposed the bill after learning about Foad Afshar's case. Afshar, a psychotherapist, was convicted last year of sexually assaulting an underage client. He has appealed his conviction, arguing that he did nothing wrong.
But, the proposed bill immediately attracted criticism. The Concord Police Department's Sgt. Sean Ford called it the nation's first pedophile protection act.
A New Hampshire victim of sexual assault identified as Angie, said, "This is telling us that children will be turned away because they don't have a witness or DNA to their crimes. How sick is that? What message is this sending?"
Experts say sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes in the country and children are typically attacked repeatedly because they don't come forward and report the incident. Opponents of the bill say the proposed change would silence victims and leave sexual predators and pedophiles on the street.
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