Gatto: New legislation would protect victims of on-campus rapes, other crimes

If legislation introduced Monday by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) becomes law, college officials across the state would be required to report certain crimes occurring on or near campuses to law enforcement to investigate, if the victim does not request anonymity.

AB 1433 comes after several California colleges have been accused of covering-up on-campus sexual assaults because of concerns that higher crime statistics would lead prospective students to choose elsewhere, Gatto said.

The unwillingness of campus officials to involve proper non-campus law-enforcement professionals greatly diminishes the chance that a perpetrator is arrested and convicted, he added.

 “Victims of crime should not see their chances of justice hurt, nor should perpetrators be allowed to victimize others, because a school values its public image more than victims' rights,” Gatto said in a statement. “Colleges should focus on teaching, and leave the investigation of crimes to the professionals -- local police and sheriffs.”

Two southern California colleges are currently the subject of a federal investigation for their handling of on-campus sexual assaults and other violent crimes, Gatto said.

 “Crimes that occur on campus should not be treated any differently than those that occur elsewhere in our community,” Gatto said. "California law needs to make sure that college administrators involve law enforcement when appropriate."

-- Mark Kellam,

Follow on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam


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