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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, November 27, 2022

Lawmakers announce "Isabella's Law" to protect child sexual assault victims

Two state representatives announced a bill Monday that would alleged perpetrators of child sexual assault released on bail from living near the victim.

Under the bill, co-authored by state Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, and state Rep. Thomas Weatherston, R-Caledonia, people accused of child sexual assault could not return to a location either next door to or within 250 feet of the victim’s residence if released on bail.

According to Mason the bill is called “Isabella’s Law,” after an 8-year-old girl in Racine was allegedly sexually assaulted by her neighbor in February. After a judge released the alleged perpetrator on bail, he returned to his residence next door to Isabella’s house.

“You can imagine how much anxiety it was causing the family to have the perpetrator of this horrible crime back next door, looking out his window at the back yard where Isabella plays,” Mason said.

Weatherston said although Isabella’s alleged assaulter confessed to the crime, the judge and district attorney in the case currently have no power to restrict where a suspect placed on bail can live.

“This bill [would give] that power back to those authorities so they can put in place restrictions and it be a condition of [perpetrators’] bail,” he said.

Mason said sexual assault laws do not give enough thought to the victim in each step of the process.

“This bill isn’t going to change what happened to Isabella, but it can stop any future Isabellas from being victimized this way,” he said.

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