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Shaheen Statement on New Hampshire Supreme Court’s Ruling on Rape Shield Law

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) released the following statement on the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling that personal information of a rape victim could be made public if a defendant appeals the withholding of that information after a conviction.

“I don’t believe it serves our justice system or the public to disclose the personal sexual history of a sexual assault victim. Sexual assault remains one of the most underreported crimes in our justice system and I am deeply concerned that undermining our Rape Shield Law’s basic privacy protections will cause irreparable damage to law enforcement efforts to encourage survivors to report their assault and cooperate with prosecution. The Federal government and state legislatures across the country are working on bipartisan legislation to better protect the rights of sexual assault survivors – this decision seems to be moving New Hampshire in exactly the wrong direction. I am encouraged that the Court will hear additional arguments on this issue, and I look forward to their review.”

Currently, the New Hampshire Supreme Court has granted a stay of the ruling and will provide a full brief on the legal issue.