The Georgia House of Representatives today approved a bill aimed at protecting the rights of college men accused of sexual assault.
The 115-55 vote came after almost two hours of sometimes heated debate for and against the so-called campus rape bill.
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, said everyone suffers when there are allegations of sexual assault involving college students, but “this bill does not solve” these tragedies. “And it does not ameliorate the pain of the victims,” Oliver said.
Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, said he proposed the bill to protect the rights of young men who are falsely accused and suffer life-destroying ramifications when they are disciplined without having a chance to adequately rebut charges against them. He said. these young men stand to lose their academic careers and the prospect of successful professional lives even if no criminal charges are brought.
“You may not care that a person’s life is destroyed by … lack of due process on a Georgia campus,” Ehrhart said. “But if it’s you, your son or your family on the receiving in… you’ll cry for that due process.”
Ehrhart argued the bill also took steps to protect the rights of sexual assault victims.
House Bill 51 requires colleges to give general information to law enforcement if there is an allegation of sexual assault but it now says schools cannot giving any specific details that would identify a victim without their consent. HB51 also says colleges and universities cannot move forward with its own investigation or any final discipline until a criminal investigation is completed.