Legislation To Assist Sexual Assault Victims Moving Forward

Frederick State Senator Karen Lewis Young says it could pass this year.

State Senator Karen Lewis Young

Annapolis, Md (KM) Frederick County State Senator Karen Lewis Young is sponsoring a bill to assist victims of sexual assault. Her bill would require state’s attorney’s offices in Maryland which are not pursuing charges against sexual assailants to explain their decision to the victims.

The bill says they would have to communicate with the victim within 20 days, either in person, over the phone or by ZOOM, she says.

Senator Lewis Young says this legislation came about when she heard from a constituent who was sexually assaulted. She reported it and nothing happened. “That’s not uncommon because very few sexual assault cases actually are prosecuted because of the very heavy burden of the evidence. And as a result of that, a lot of people don’t even report it,”: says Lewis Young.

“It’s traumatic enough to be assaulted, and then not knowing why your case didn’t move forward. The unknown adds to that drama,” Senator Lewis Young continues. “So at least by providing an explanation, hopefully victims will have some closure.”

A similar bill, filed in the House of Delegates by Frederick County Delegate Karen Simpson, passed the House last week, and is heading to the Senate. “I asked her to cross file my bill because typically if you have the same bill on both sides of the street, it stands a better chance of moving forward,” says Lewis Young.

The House of Delegates passed the legislation in two previous sessions, but it didn’t move in the Senate. “The bill has passed in the House, crossed the street prior to crossover, and {the Senate} Judicial Proceedings {Committee} didn’t take action on it,” she said “So I will try myself and make the third time the charmer.”

If the legislation becomes law, it will take affect on October 1st,- 2023.

By Kevin McManus