Montana Legislators Considering Changes to State Sexual Assault Law
According to Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst, a legislative interim committee has been in talks with her office about changing laws dealing with sexual assault.
“Our senior deputy county attorneys and our lead attorneys have been working with interim committee researching other laws around the country that seem to work better than ours,” said Pabst. “They are digesting that and presenting that to our legislators. I appreciate that the legislators want to hear from us. We are the ones who are working with those definitions on a daily basis.”
According to Pabst, it is currently very difficult for prosecutors to prove that victims of sexual assault were mentally incapacitated at the time of an assault and there should be a change to the definition.
“Other states have defined it differently,” Pabst said. “There is a whole continuum of definitions, but the one we are looking at is a reasonable; whether or not the victim is capable of making reasonable decisions given the consumption of alcohol or drugs. It will lower that standard making it easier for us to prove sexual assault cases where the victim is intoxicated.”
The next Legislative session will begin in January of 2017, because Montana’s legislature only meets every two years, they are typically very busy sessions.