Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bill Requiring GPS Monitoring of Those Convicted of Sexual Assault Receives Hearing

Rep. Jesse MacLachlan
State Senator Arthur Linares (R-33) and Representative Jesse MacLachlan (R-35) affirmed their support of SB 1041, An Act Concerning GPS Monitoring Of Convicted Persons Awaiting Sentencing For Aggravated Sexual Assault. The bill was before the legislature’s Judiciary Committee for a public hearing.

In written testimony, Sen. Linares said that although he submitted the bill, ownership of it truly belongs to one of his constituents, a victim of aggravated sexual assault. Jordan Ledyard asked for the legislation to be submitted because her assailant, who admitted his guilt and was then convicted, was allowed to remain free until sentencing and became a fugitive from justice.

Ms. Ledyard also attended the public hearing to advocate for the bill.
Sen. Linares (file photo)

“You will be outraged to hear how she and her family lived in fear, never knowing when and where this man might reappear and if he would seek revenge against his victim,” Sen. Linares testimony said. “The situation, essentially, re-victimized this young woman and her family.

“Thankfully, her assailant eventually was caught and jailed.”
Sen. Linares said he was impressed by the young woman’s courage and her
determination not to allow the crime against her to define her life. She sought him out to sponsor the bill before the committee.

“She wanted to ensure that no other sexual assault victim would endure what she has and I wholeheartedly agree,” he wrote.

Rep. MacLachlan joined Ms. Ledyard as she testified on behalf SB 1041, telling her story to the members of the committee. He took over reading her testimony when she was overcome by emotion.

The testimony expressed the young woman’s frustration with a criminal justice system that allowed her admitted assailant so much freedom.

“It was equally frustrating that our request of a monitoring system was denied. This left myself and my family feeling very unsafe,” written testimony said. “My parents were worried to leave me home alone. They would flex their work hours to be home when I got there because no one ever knew where he was. He could have been in my hometown or driving by our house for all we knew.”

When her attacker became a fugitive, the testimony said police became a constant presence at her home and in her neighborhood until he was finally apprehended.

The committee was told that while the abuse could not have been prevented, what she experience dealing with the criminal justice system did not have to happen.

“It could have been prevented if the court system had given him the monitoring device my parents asked for. He fled because he did not have one,” testimony said.

Legislators on the committee each commended the young woman. They said they were moved by her story and the bravery she showed by coming to Hartford to share her experience and advocate for other victims.

Rep. McLachlan commended the woman’s tenacity and her decision to publicly testify before the committee.

“Jordan’s bravery to tell her story and to be the voice for victims of sexual assault everywhere is truly inspirational,” said Rep. MacLachlan. “Letting individuals roam freely, who are on trial or waiting for a trail for sexual assault, is completely unacceptable. In these cases, the safety of the victims should be the court's top priority, and this legislation will provide safety to victims of sexual assault and their families by preventing these sick individuals from going after the victim again or trying to flee the state.”

Sen. Linares said no victims should have to experience what his constituent endured.

“The criminal justice system is supposed to vindicate and protect the victims of violent crime. I believe this bill will help do that,” he said.

Sen. Linares represents the communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Rep. McLachlan serves the communities of Clinton, Killingworth, and Westbrook.

Sen. Linares was unable to attend the meeting in person because of a family matter.

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