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.”


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BALLARD, ANTHONY MONTREL  2401 SOUTH CHAMBERLAIN AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, 37407  Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga PUBLIC INTOXICATION CRIMINAL IMPERSONATION --- BASLER, BOBBY LEE  4310 NORCROSS ROAD HIXSON, 37343  Age at Arrest: 32 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

6 Charged In Tennessee For TennCare Fraud; 1 In Hamilton County

Six people are charged with TennCare fraud in Knox, Blount and Hamilton counties. All but one of the cases involves prescription drugs; the other involves misrepresenting personal income in order to receive healthcare insurance benefits through TennCare.    The six arrests bring the total number of people arrested for TennCare fraud to 2,702 since the Office of Inspector ... (click for more)

Problems With The Proposed Apartments In Lookout Valley

I am deeply troubled at the way in which this proposal has been handled. The blatant disregard for the residents of Kelly's Ferry Road and the wishes of the Lookout Valley Area Plan (which was adopted by the city in 2003) by Chip Henderson and Tommy Austin amazes me. Yes, there was a meeting of the Lookout Valley Neighborhood association in August, but it wasn't on its normal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ooltewah & The Bullies

During the week of Christmas I got an email from a longtime friend at the Knoxville News-Sentinel that laughingly wondered what kind of basketball do you people play (in Chattanooga?) It included sketchy details of the rape, and subsequent surgery, of an Ooltewah High School basketball player who had been assaulted by his own teammates at a Gatlinburg holiday tournament. Today ... (click for more)

Up-Front Power Lifts Signal Mountain Past CCS, 3-0

Signal Mountain sent Chattanooga Christian a quick to-the-point message on Tuesday. The Lady Chargers better be ready for a tough match. Well, the Lady Eagles played extremely tough volleyball, used a quick start that set the tempo and went on to crush the Lady Chargers, 3-0, in a District 7-2A match at Signal Mountain School. Signal Mountain’s up-front attack dominated ... (click for more)

Grace Takes 3-0 Win From CSAS In Volleyball

The Grace Academy Lady Golden Eagles didn't waste much time taking a 3-0 victory from CSAS on Tuesday evening at CSAS, Grace winning the District 5-A match by scores of 25-11, 25-12 and 25-20. Alexandra Smith had 13 kills and eight digs for the winners while Summer Dean finished with 18 assists.  Maggie Long contributed 19 digs while Autumn Parrott had four aces to go along ... (click for more)