Bill aims to shield assault victims from retaliatory lawsuit
BATON ROUGE (AP) - The Louisiana Senate has decided that courts should postpone any slander lawsuits filed against people who allege they've been sexually assaulted.
Sen. J.P. Morrell, the New Orleans Democrat who sponsored the bill, says wealthy perpetrators of sexual misconduct often use defamation lawsuits to try to prevent rape victims from being able to move forward with assault claims.
His proposal would require the delay of a slander lawsuit until all investigations and proceedings involving the assault claim are resolved.
The Senate voted 29-8 Monday to send the bill to the House for debate.
Opponents say they support the intent of Morrell's legislation, but add it goes too far in impeding due process rights. Sen. John Milkovich, a Keithville Democrat, worried about people falsely accused of assault.