Monday, March 26, 2012

Sexual assault coalition honors Rep. Darneille

Rep. Jeannie Darneille
Rep. Jeannie Darneille of Tacoma has been named a legislator of the year by the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs because of her strong record of combating sexual assault, as well as supporting the victims of the crimes.

In announcing the award, coalition spokeswoman Lonnie Johns-Brown praised Rep. Darneille’s “longstanding commitment to working on and supporting public policies and funding for victims of sexual assault.”

The coalition specifically cited Rep. Darneille’s efforts to pass a bill that would mandate collection of a DNA sample from a felony suspect after the suspect’s arrest. The sample would then be checked against DNA evidence collected from unsolved-crime scenes. The bill was designed in large part to catch repeat offenders, effectively halting their patterns of sexual assault. For more about this bill, check out this blog post.

The bill won approval from a House committee but failed to advance, leaving in place the current law allowing DNA collection from felons only after they are found guilty in court.

“I’m very much honored by this award,” Darneille said. “I’ve become more and more convinced of the need to use whatever tools we have to protect women and children from these terrible crimes. DNA analysis is a great tool, and I won’t give up the fight.”

To read this story in Spanish, click here.