Controversial campus sexual violence reporting bill fizzles

Mar 5, 2018, 1:18 PM | Updated: 10:51 pm
Ami Jo Curtis speaks to reporters...
Ami Jo Curtis speaks to reporters

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) is considering Monday a victory, for now. HB254 was killed after bill sponsor Representative Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan, never showed up to Monday morning’s committee, which had to conclude for time restraints. The UCASA said the bill would have allowed a college to report an allegation of sexual violence to an off-campus law enforcement agency without the purported victim’s consent.

UCASA Executive Director Turner Bitton said his organization, and victim advocacy organizations from across the state and country, strongly oppose the bill. He said it’s regressive and takes power away from sexual assault victims.

In a press release, he also mentions that the bill undermines the nationally-recognized practices of the handling of sexual violence on college campuses.

At a UCASA press conference after the committee meeting, Ami Jo Curtis spoke of her experience dealing with sexual assault. She said she was raped off-campus when she was in college. She said it took her years to even tell anyone about the rape before getting the help she needed. Curtis said she would have had an even harder time coming forward, if this bill became law.

“They keep asking, ‘How do we know? How do we know the victims won’t come forward?’ I know because I would not have come forward,” Curtis said.

She and Bitton said while HB254 won’t become law this year, they and other opponents hope to continue educating people on why they hope it never will become one.

“We need to trust your victim advocate and everything you say is private and that when you are ready to tell your story, you’ll be ready to tell your story not somebody else,” said Curtis.

Rep. Coleman told KSL in a text message that she was unaware her bill died in committee. She has not yet shared her reaction.

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Controversial campus sexual violence reporting bill fizzles