After Recent Ruling, Abuse Survivor Pursues Bill Helping Victims Use Secret Recordings

Dec 12, 2014

One of the posters for the "Don't Miss the Signs" campaign, launched last year by sex abuse survivor and victims advocate Lauren Book and DCF.

Following a recent Florida Supreme Court ruling, sex abuse survivor and victims advocate Lauren Book is looking to pursue legislation to allow young victims to use secret recordings as evidence in court. 

The ruling centers around a teenager who privately recorded a conversation between her and her stepfather, Richard McDade, who she said was abusing her for six years until she was 16-years-old.

“McDade made it very clear…with the recordings, asked her for sex, said if you don’t have sex with me, I’ll be sick. If you tell…I’m doing you a favor by not telling because they’ll send you back to Mexico. Let’s keep in mind who this guy was. He was an ice cream truck driver to gain access to children,” said Book, reading from the brief.

Book says while she understands the ruling, she’s disappointed the only avenue the girl had to tell her story was thrown out in court—just because of the state’s two-party consent rule.

“So, we’ll be working with the Florida Legislature an exemption is created to the private recording laws so that we may bring these sexually deviant behaving who offend against children to justice,” said Book. “Looking at 16 years and younger. Children who are stuck in an abusive situation have so few tools to protect themselves and find a way to escape, and too often as we saw in this case, children are not believed when they disclose abuse.”

In this case, the girl’s mother, two ministers, and her doctor did not believe her. Book, who’s worked on several legislation and campaigns before to help victims, says she feels for the girl, since she was in a similar situation after she was sexually abused by her nanny when she was 10-years-old to age 16, and hopes to one day reach out to her.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.