Bill Sets Single Trial For Sexual Abuse Victims

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Tennessee General Assembly has passed a bill that reduces the number of times sexual abuse victims must testify in court. Under the new “Child Protection Act,” a person accused of sexually abusing a child multiple times will receive a single trial, allowing a victimized child to testify only once in court. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, and Senator Ken Yager, R-Harriman. 

“Under previous law, children who were victims of repeated sexual abuse had to endure numerous trials and re-live the abuse on the witness stand,” said Rep. Dean. “Sexual offenders must face justice but not at the expense of our children’s peace of mind. The Child Protection Act ends the trial process as quickly as possible for our children, allowing them to move forward with their lives.”

If a person is accused of sexually abusing a child three or more times within a 90-day period, the new legislation will merge these offenses into a single trial. The same rule applies for a person accused of at least five incidents of sexual abuse involving two or more victims within a 90-day period. The bill also indicates a defendant will be given a single trial regardless of whether the counts of sexual abuse occur in separate counties.

By reducing the number of trials of sexual offenders in the state, the Child Protection Act will also yield a significant cost-savings to the public, Rep. Dean said.

He said he has been working on the bill for nearly three years alongside the District Attorney’s Conference and the Tennessee Bar Association. He issued a special thank you to Hamilton County District Attorney Bill Cox who he indicated played an instrumental role in getting the legislation drafted and approved. 

“It has been an honor to join forces with Rep. Vince Dean in making legislation that further protects the victims of these heinous crimes,” said District Attorney Bill Cox. “The Child Protection Act will not only save money for the public, but it will significantly reduce the emotional strain on the victims and their families.”

The bill cleared both the House and Senate with a unanimous vote. It is now on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. 

“This law is a good example of how the legislative and judicial systems can work hand-in-hand for our community’s security,” said Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee.“ Both legislators and court officials alike have expressed how vital this added protection is, and we are deeply grateful to all sides for joining together to better shield the children in our state.”


Patten Towers Resident Charged In Wreck That Clogged U.S. 27 On Sunday

A Patten Towers resident is charged in a wreck that clogged the northbound lanes of U.S. 27 on Sunday. Melanie Evette Dobbs, 56, was charged with four counts of reckless endangerment, DUI, failure to maintain lane, violating the Implied Consent Law and failing to have insurance. Police responded to a collision at 9:45 p.m. in which a Dodge Caravan had struck a Kia sedan that ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, KENNETH EUGENE  2705 WOODSIDE DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37407  Age at Arrest: 49 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County AGGRAVATED ASSAULT/DOMESTIC --- BALLARD, DEANGELO DEMOND  3103 5TH AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga AGGRAVATED ... (click for more)

White Coat Syndrome And The Medical System - And Response

Today I wish to share what I am feeling as a patient in our medical system. I am too old to put on airs at this point, and this is too pervasive of a problem for me to contain.   As I enter my AARP years, I am faced with so many medical encounters that evoke all kinds of uncomfortable feelings. I dread physician’s appointments riddled with government regulatory hypocrisy, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Knoxville’s Godsend

Back when we were uppity teenagers, the best put-down when a friend started acting crazy was to say to the heathen, “Quit acting like you are from Knoxville!” I don’t know how the term originated but I can say that back in the day it was pretty insulting to be told you were acting like you were from Knoxville. This week I wish that more of us acted like Knoxville. The Knox County ... (click for more)

Sales' Grand Slam Leads Lady Owls To 6-2 Comeback Win

Cheyenne Sales came close to hitting two home runs on Tuesday. She atoned for those close calls a day later with a grand slam in a five-run fourth inning and powered Ooltewah to a 6-2 victory over gritty East Hamilton in District 5-3A softball action at Jim Lovell Field. “That’s the first grand slam I’ve hit this season,” said Sales, who finished with five RBIs. “The pitch ... (click for more)

Red Bank's Kendall Farr Hurls No-Hitter Against Tyner

Kendall Farr was on the money Wednesday afternoon as she hurled a no-hitter and struck out seven as the Red Bank Lionettes blanked Tyner, 10-0, in six innings. Kelsey Peden and Destiny Painter both had two RBIs for the Lionettes while Hannah Wood had a triple and Sami Shrader a double.  Peden also had a double. With Farr improving to 3-2 on the season,, Red Bank finished ... (click for more)