Thanks to the Indiana Senate’s approval of Senate Bill 206, authored by Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, child victims of sex crimes are one step closer to not being subjected to the trauma of discovery depositions, except in some circumstances, according to an Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council news release.
Child victims of sexual assault and other heinous acts are re-traumatized every time they have to restate and discuss the terrible acts they experienced. Under current law, this can happen during depositions that occur prior to a trial.
“It’s heartbreaking that any child that is a sex abuse victim should have to go through a deposition,” Messmer said. “During these cases, I believe it’s important we consider their youth and take into account the distress they have endured. This legislation would be a great step for Indiana’s court systems and I’m pleased to see it pass the Indiana Senate.”
SB 206 would redefine the procedures for depositions for any victims of a sex crime who are aged 16 or younger. Indiana is one of only five states in the nation currently allowing unfettered access to depositions, regardless of the charge or the victim.
“We would like to thank Sen. Messmer for his leadership on this important issue,” IPAC executive director Chris Naylor said. “SB 206 is a strong step forward for child victims who shouldn’t have to re-live their traumatic experience over and over again.”
With SB 206, defense counsel would still have access to forensic interviews, which are conducted by trained professionals and video recorded, and the right to confrontation in a trial setting as provided by the U.S. Constitution.
With the passage out of the Senate by a 49-1 vote, the bill now moves over to the House, where it will be sponsored by Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel.