The Region

Landmark legislation that would allow child molestation victims to testify via closed-circuit television from outside the courtroom passed its first test in the state Assembly Monday. By a vote of 6 to 1, the Assembly Public Safety Committee approved the controversial measure designed to protect children who may be called to testify in the McMartin Pre-School molestation trial and other cases. At the same time, the committee limited the bill to children under the age of 11 and narrowed other provisions of the measure in an attempt to ensure that TV testimony by children would be found constitutional by the courts. Earlier in the day, the committee gave quick approval to an emergency bill that would correct an error in a law passed last year that could result in the dismissal of thousands of child molestation cases in California, including some charges in the McMartin case.

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