Bill Text: IA SF329 | 2019-2020 | 88th General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: A bill for an act relating to expert witness testimony in child sexual abuse and child endangerment cases. (Formerly SSB 1016.)

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (? 1-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-04-27 - Rereferred to Judiciary. H.J. 1076. [SF329 Detail]

Download: Iowa-2019-SF329-Introduced.html
Senate File 329 - Introduced SENATE FILE 329 BY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY (SUCCESSOR TO SSB 1016) A BILL FOR An Act relating to expert witness testimony in child sexual 1 abuse and child endangerment cases. 2 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 3 TLSB 1354SV (1) 88 as/rh
S.F. 329 Section 1. NEW SECTION . 915.39 Expert witness testimony in 1 child sexual abuse, child abuse, and child endangerment cases. 2 1. For the purposes of this section: 3 a. “Child endangerment” means a criminal charge alleging 4 that a defendant has committed an offense under section 726.2, 5 726.3, or 726.6, against a victim under eighteen years of age 6 at the time of the offense. 7 b. “Sexual abuse” means a criminal charge alleging that a 8 defendant has committed an offense under chapter 709 against a 9 victim under eighteen years of age at the time of the offense. 10 2. In a criminal prosecution in which a defendant has been 11 charged with child sexual abuse or child endangerment, evidence 12 from a qualified expert witness shall be admissible on matters 13 relevant to the case, including but not limited to testimony 14 from the expert witness based upon the expert’s education, 15 training, and experience concerning any of the following: 16 a. The various reasons child victims delay disclosure of 17 circumstances surrounding sexual abuse or child endangerment, 18 or intermittently disclose details of such circumstances 19 surrounding sexual abuse or child endangerment. 20 b. The process engaged in by perpetrators of sexual abuse 21 to groom their victims, or grooming behaviors in general, 22 which include but are not limited to preparing a child for 23 victimization and ensuring the child does not report the sexual 24 abuse. 25 c. The various reasons that child victims recant allegations 26 of sexual abuse or child endangerment. 27 d. Possible symptoms or post-allegation behaviors of a child 28 who is the victim of sexual abuse or child endangerment. 29 EXPLANATION 30 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 31 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 32 This bill relates to expert testimony in child sexual abuse, 33 child abuse, and child endangerment cases. 34 The bill defines “child endangerment” as a criminal charge 35 -1- LSB 1354SV (1) 88 as/rh 1/ 2
S.F. 329 alleging that the defendant has committed an offense under 1 Code section 726.2 (incest), 726.3 (neglect or abandonment of 2 a dependent person), or 726.6 (child endangerment), against a 3 victim under 18 years of age at the time of the offense and 4 “sexual abuse” as a criminal charge alleging that the defendant 5 has committed an offense under Code chapter 709 (sexual abuse) 6 against a victim under 18 years of age at the time of the 7 offense. 8 The bill creates new Code section 915.39, which provides 9 that in a criminal prosecution in which a defendant has 10 been charged with child sexual abuse or child endangerment, 11 evidence from a qualified expert witness is admissible on 12 matters relevant to the case, including but not limited to 13 testimony from the expert witness based upon the expert’s 14 education, training, and experience concerning any of the 15 following: (1) reasons child victims delay disclosure of 16 circumstances surrounding sexual abuse or child endangerment, 17 or intermittently disclose details of such circumstances 18 surrounding sexual abuse or child endangerment; (2) the process 19 engaged in by perpetrators of sexual abuse to groom their 20 victims, or grooming behaviors in general, which include but 21 are not limited to preparing a child for victimization and 22 ensuring the child does not report the sexual abuse; (3) the 23 various reasons that child victims recant allegations of 24 sexual abuse or child endangerment; and (4) possible symptoms 25 or post-allegation behaviors of a child who is the victim of 26 sexual abuse or child endangerment. 27 -2- LSB 1354SV (1) 88 as/rh 2/ 2
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