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Bill Allowing Sex Abuse Victims To Secretly Record Attackers Advancing In House

Florida Channel

A measure allowing sexual abuse victims to use secret recordings of their attackers as evidence in court is moving forward in the Florida House. The proposed committee bill gained initial approval in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Tuesday.

After the Florida Supreme Court ordered a new trial for a man charged with sexually abusing his 16-year-old stepdaughter for years, state lawmakers decided to step in. The case was thrown out because the girl taped an incriminating conversation without her stepfather’s consent. And, Representative Carlos Trujillo (R-Miami)—the bill’s main sponsor—says it’s the legislature’s job to fix that.

“It will now be lawful for a person to intercept and record an oral communication if the person is a party to the communication and has reasonable grounds to believe that the recording will capture a statement by another party to the communication party intends to commit, is committing, or has committed an unlawful act of physical act of force or violence against a person,” said Trujillo.

Coral Springs Democratic Representative Jared Moskowitz applauded the move. He filed the original proposal, but his version only applied to victims under the age of 17.

“This is very similar to the bill that I had filed,” said Moskowitz. “But, this actually does a much better job. The bill that I filed was a little narrow. This expands it. So, I really want to thank the Chairman and the Attorney General’s office really working on that language trying to figure out is the best way to move forward. This now matches the language in the Senate.”

In addition to Attorney General Pam Bondi, the measure has the backing of Lauren Book, a sexual abuse survivor and victims advocate who has helped pass similar bills in Florida.

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

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.