Area lawmaker seeks to prevent access to sexual crime visuals in final bill

Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford’s presumed last bill to be signed into law will protect crime victims’ privacy for years to come.

The Hamilton Republican’s Victim’s Protection and Privacy Act, which was attached to Senate Bill 214, has been sent to Ohio Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

INITIAL STORY: Retherford says bill will prevent ‘re-victimizing’ of crime victims

The bill prevents photos, videos and images of a victim of a sexually oriented crime from being accessed via a public records request.

“ (The bill) protects (victims) from being victimized again and protects our local law enforcement from deciding between following the law or protecting a victim,” he said.

The bill was prompted after a conversation Retherford had with a Hamilton police detective.

These pieces of evidence were protected throughout a court case, and including the appeals process. However, a December 2016 Ohio Surpeme Court ruling allowed those pieces of evidence could be released once the inital court case concluded.

Because of that, the suspect could have access to that sensative material, police and Retherford said.

Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit told the Journal-News last year the legislation is a “no-brainer” in protecting victims from having to re-live a traumatic experience.

“We take our role in protecting victims very seriously, and we want to make sure no victim is re-victimized by loopholes,” Bucheit said in December 2017. “We’re all working here for the common good for the people, and we all see the problem. It’s a matter of recognizing a potential problem and the opportunity for someone to be re-victimized.”

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