Legislature's Judiciary Committee Considering Child Sexual Abuse Laws

Jun 5, 2019

Credit Catherine Wheeler

The Wyoming Legislature's Joint Judiciary Committee wants to gather more information on childhood sexual abuse crimes in the state.

During Monday's meeting in Gillette, Cara Chambers, director of the Division of Victims Services in the Wyoming Attorney General's office, proposed two possible ideas for legislators to consider.

One is creating a tender years exception that would allow child victims to testify in a different room than their offender in court proceedings, such as in a judge's chambers or on closed-circuit television.

Chambers said the other idea is mandatory multidisciplinary teams in every county to create best practices and procedures in cases of child sexual abuse or neglect. She used an Idaho statute as an example.

"Because what I think is, all the providers who work with this population agree on a holistic wrap-around method of all the different players. Whether it's law enforcement, mental health, specific child center educators [need] to all come to the table, how do we address [childhood sexual abuse] and what's the best practices moving forward?" Chambers said.

The committee will continue to study the issue. Fremont County Representative Tim Salazar said he fully intends to introduce legislation on the topic if the committee doesn't take action. He said he'd like to look at ways to address child sexual abuse prevention in the state.