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Bill aims to shield rape victims from retaliatory lawsuits

May 14, 2018

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers have agreed to require judges to postpone slander lawsuits filed against people who allege they’ve been sexually assaulted.

Sen. J.P. Morrell, the New Orleans Democrat who sponsored the bill, said perpetrators of sexual misconduct often use defamation lawsuits to try to prevent rape victims from moving forward with assault claims.

His legislation will force delay of a slander lawsuit until all investigations and proceedings involving the assault claim are resolved.

A 31-7 Senate vote Monday sent the measure to the governor. The House earlier voted 85-0 for the bill.

There was no debate Monday. Opponents previously said while they support the intent, they think Morrell’s bill goes too far.

If Gov. John Bel Edwards agrees to the legislation, it takes effect Aug. 1.

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Senate Bill 147: www.legis.la.gov

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