Frazier bill aims to increase prosecutions of those who target the disabled in sex crimes

Monday, April 8, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, has introduced a bill to help protect people with an Intellectual or Developmental Disability from being targeted for sexual assaults.

“A lengthy investigation by NPR found that I/DD individuals are targeted for sexual assault at a rate seven times higher than those without a disability,” Frazier said. “It is an epidemic, and a major reason why is that criminals who commit sexual assault crimes against I/DD individuals are not brought to justice because the cases are difficult to investigate and prosecute. This must change.”

The California Department of Emergency Services conducts training courses for district attorneys on how to investigate and prosecute sexual assault, child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse crimes.

Frazier’s bill, AB 640, would expand these courses to include training on the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes committed against victims who have an intellectual or developmental disability.

“An I/DD individual who is the victim of a crime may have a difficult time speaking or describing what happened in detail, or may have trouble recalling the time sequence of a crime,” Frazier said. “Law enforcement and district attorneys must have comprehensive training on how to overcome these obstacles so we can ensure those who victimize the most vulnerable among us pay for their crimes and individuals with an I/DD receive justice and are protected.”

AB 640 is supported by Disability Rights California, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, the Arc and United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration and other organizations and individuals.

The bill passed its first test when the Assembly Public Safety Committee approved it 8-0. It now goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which encompasses a large cross section of the Delta in Central Solano, Eastern Contra Costa and Southern Sacramento counties, and includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

CONTACT:   Andrew Bird (916) 319-2011 Andrew.Bird@asm.ca.gov