By SHANNON WEBSTER
Should someone's name be released instantly following a charge of sexual assault? Lawmakers in Wyoming believe so. On Monday, a bill was moved to the Wyoming State House floor by a 5-4 vote which would require the release of individuals charged with sexual assault, even if those charges are later dropped before going to trial.
- What about all those who are falsely accused of sexual abuse by someone? So much for innocent until proven guilty in a court of law! Does this also include politicians who are accused of a sex crime or any other crime? We doubt it!
Currently, all charges are public record the instant they are filed within Wyoming, except for sexual assault. The names of those accused of sexual assault are not released until a court date is set, often weeks or months after the initial arrest.
Reasons for the change include providing information to the public, ending special treatment of sexual assault defendants, and protecting the public safety.
Opponents point to a number of charges of sexual assault that are false or later dropped before reaching the courts. Those accused of a sexual crime are stigmatized by society, even after being cleared of all wrongdoing.
While the two sides duke it out in the court of public opinion, the bill is likely to have a full House vote before the end of the month.