Campus rape bill passes key House committee

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Campus rape bill passes key House committee

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Students at Agnes Scott College show their support for sexual assault victims as part of a 2014 national day of action. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

Does House Bill 51 sacrifice victims of campus rape in order to protect the due process rights of college men accused of assault or does the legislation create a system that is fair to all?

That was the back and forth in the debate Monday just before the House Appropriations Committee passed a campus rape bill that is on the schedule for a House floor vote Wednesday.

Two women tell their stories. Video by Brant Sanderlin and edit by Elissa Benzie

Bill sponsor Rep. Earle Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, says the proposed law is needed to protect the rights of college men who can lose their academic career and any hope for a successful professional life because of a false rape allegation.

Opponents of the bill — many of whom openly-described the details of their own assaults — said the mandatory reporting required in HB 51 will make some victims reluctant to tell school officials. They argue the bill will also make it hard to get help from administrators, such as separating the accused rapist and the woman in their classes or dorm assignments, and avoid pursuing criminal charges against the alleged attacker.

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