States Still Expanding Rape Victims’ Protections


Two states expanded protections for rape victims after the high-profile criminal case against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant in a continuing effort by states to guard accusers' identities and increase chances for successful prosecutions, reports Legislators in Colorado and California this year passed laws to conceal accusers' identities from the public in sexual assault cases. After the Bryant criminal case was dismissed, his accuser is pursuing a lawsuit seeking civil damages. A federal judge refused to allow her to continue using a pseudonym, so she filed a suit last week using her real name.

The new Colorado law gives alleged victims greater leeway to use pseudonyms in court documents and legal proceedings. The California Legislature voted to close court hearings and seal court records that discuss an accuser's sexual history unless a judge considers it admissible evidence. Since 2000, at least nine states have passed laws making victims' addresses confidential: Connecticut, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Vermont.


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