Last week in the General Assembly, Louisville House members filed two pieces of legislation that address concerns raised by the sexual assault case of Louisville teenager Savannah Dietrich, which made national headlines.
Republican Rep. Kevin Bratcher filed HB 115, which would allow a crime victim to publicly discuss his or her case during a juvenile court proceeding. Dietrich was threatened with contempt of court last year for tweeting the names of her attackers after she was frustrated with their light sentence recommendation and the gag order against her.
“If it doesn’t violate somebody else’s rights, then you should be able to talk,” Bratcher tells LEO. “Because it really made me sick that (Dietrich) could be victimized like that and also have to stay quiet about it.”
Bratcher is open to changes to the bill and hopes it can at least start a conversation about how to prevent victims like Dietrich from being threatened with jail if they speak out.
Democratic Rep. Joni Jenkins of Shively also filed HB 106, which increases the penalties for criminal sexual abuse where penetration not falling within the technical scope of rape or sodomy occurs. Jenkins attempted to pass the same bill years ago, but now is optimistic that House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. John Tilley could give the bill a hearing.