An Act To Protect Child Victims of Sexual Abuse
Sec. 1. 15 MRSA §1205, sub-§2, as repealed and replaced by PL 1985, c. 495, §1, is amended to read:
This bill amends the law concerning the admissibility of out-of-court statements by certain victims of sexual assault in criminal prosecutions.
This bill allows the admission of statements made by the victim to another person when the statements are not considered testimonial. The bill allows the person to whom the statement was made to repeat the statement in testimony in open court if the statement was made in circumstances having sufficient guarantees of trustworthiness, and the person testifying can be confronted and cross-examined as required under the Constitution of Maine or the United States Constitution. This will allow a child’s therapist, for example, to whom the child disclosed the conduct to testify in court about the child’s statement about that conduct, and the statement can be admitted as allowable hearsay. The therapist must be subject to cross-examination and all other rights secured to the accused. This bill applies to statements made by a victim who has a developmental disability as well as to children under 16 years of age. Whether the circumstances have sufficient guarantees of trustworthiness is determined by the facts of each case.