Download this document in MS Word 97 format

S.11

Introduced by Senator Bartlett of Lamoille County and Senator Sears of Bennington County

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject: Crimes; sexual offenses; testing convicted sexual offenders for sexually-transmitted diseases

Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to establish a procedure whereby a person who is convicted of an offense involving a sexual act can be compelled to submit to testing for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Victims of an offense involving a sexual act may receive counseling, testing, and appropriate health care provided by the state.

AN ACT RELATING TO THE THREAT OF INFECTION RESULTING FROM SEXUAL OFFENSES

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 13 V.S.A. § 3256 is added to read:

§ 3256. TESTING FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASES

(a) The victim of an offense involving a sexual act may obtain an order from the district or family court in which the offender was convicted of the offense, or was adjudicated delinquent, requiring that the offender be tested for the presence of the etiologic agent for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and other sexually-transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, and syphilis. If requested by the victim, the state's attorney shall petition the court on behalf of the victim for an order under this section. For the purposes of this section, "offender" includes a juvenile adjudicated a delinquent.

(b) For purposes of this section, "sexual act" means a criminal offense:

(1) where the underlying conduct of the offender constitutes a sexual act as defined in section 3251 of this title; and

(2) which creates a risk of transmission of the etiologic agent for AIDS to the victim as determined by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(c) If the court determines that the offender was convicted of a crime involving a sexual act with the victim, the court shall order the test to be administered by the Vermont department of health in accordance with applicable law. If appropriate under the circumstances, the court may include in its order a requirement for follow-up testing of the offender. An order for follow-up testing shall be terminated if the offender’s conviction is overturned. All costs of testing the offender shall, if not otherwise funded, be paid by the department of public safety.

(d) The results of the offender’s test shall be disclosed only to the offender and the victim, or, where the court deems appropriate, to the parent or legal guardian of a minor or an unemancipated or incompetent victim.

(e) Upon request of the victim at any time after the commission of a crime involving a sexual act under subsection (b) of this section, the state shall provide any of the following services to the victim:

(1) counseling regarding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV);

(2) testing, which shall remain confidential unless otherwise provided by law, for HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, and syphilis;

(3) counseling by a medically-trained professional on the accuracy of the testing, and the risk of transmitting HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases to the victim as a result of the crime involving a sexual act; and

(4) appropriate health care, including but not limited to prophylaxis treatment, crisis counseling, and support services.

(f) A victim who so requests shall receive follow-up HIV testing and counseling six months and 12 months after the initial test.

(g) The center for crime victims services shall be the primary coordinating agent for the services to be provided in subsections (e) and (f) of this section.

(h) The record of the court proceedings and test results pursuant to this section shall be sealed.

(i) The court administrator’s office shall develop and distribute forms to implement this section in connection with a criminal conviction or adjudication of delinquency.

Sec. 2. FUNDING

In state fiscal year 2002, $175,000.00 in federal Byrne Grant funds shall be transferred from the department of public safety to the center for crime victims services to provide for the costs of any services under 13 V.S.A. § 3256(e), (f), and (g). Any match requirements for these funds shall be met by the department of public safety. The center for crime victims services shall use these funds in accordance with a plan developed by the center with the cooperation and advice of the department of public safety and the department of health. Byrne Grant funds shall be made available for these purposes in subsequent fiscal years. In the event that there is a shortfall of funds, the department of public safety shall transfer any necessary funds to the center for crime victims services and present any resulting funding shortfall to the general assembly as part of the budget adjustment process.

Sec. 3. REPORTS

(a) On or before January 31 each year, the commissioner of the department of public safety shall report to the Senate and House Committees on Judiciary the identity of each Byrne Grant recipient and the amount distributed to each one. The report shall specify the identity of and the amount received by each Byrne Grant recipient who was awarded funds as a consequence of this enactment, entitled "An Act Relating to the Threat of Infection Resulting from Sexual Offenses."

(b) On or before January 31, 2002, the executive director of the center for crime victims services shall report to the Senate and House Committees on Judiciary an analysis of the programmatic and fiscal impact of this enactment. This report shall include the following:

(1) The numbers of victims of an offense involving a sexual act:

(A) who are referred for HIV testing;

(B) who are tested for HIV;

(C) who seek related benefits through the victim’s compensation program;

(D) who request preventative treatment or other related health services; and

(2) The cost of providing the services described in subdivisions (1)(A), (B), (C), and (D) of this subsection.

Sec. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.