Author of ‘campus rape’ bill complains of threats

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Author of ‘campus rape’ bill complains of threats

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State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (center), R-Powder Springs, during the legislative session that ended last week. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

A powerful member of the Georgia Legislature has asked law enforcement officials to look into harassing emails and social media posts targeting him and his staff after he tried to pass the so-called campus rape bill.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, said he has contacted both Capitol police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation about individuals who have left him threatening or vulgar posts.

Ehrhart, who once derided the idea of an opponent who didn’t like his bill as a “little snowflake” who would melt at the first sign of confrontation, said the posts go too far and have forced him to take down material that may identify constituents for fear they may also be targeted.

He said he also worried about children reading the material, which in some cases refer to sexual acts or threats of physical violence against him or his family.

Ehrhart’s measure, which is designed to protect the due process rights of students accused of sexual misconduct, stemmed from his belief that too many students are falsely accused and yet still investigated and even punished by Georgia college officials.

Those who have been fighting against the bill argue it weakens campus judicial systems that protect sexual assault victims.

The legislation failed to make final passage last week as lawmakers finished their work for the year. However, it remains available for consideration next year and because of Ehrhart’s maneuvering, it is currently contained in two pieces of legislation (House Bill 51 and Senate Bill 71).

The Sine Die 2017 edition of Georgia Legislative Week in Review with Aaron Gould Sheinin, Kristina Torres and the Phrase of the Week by James Salzer. Video by Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com
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