Rachel’s Law, Bill to Protect Rape Survivors, Passes New Mexico Senate

Senate Bill 84, sponsored by Senator Linda Lopez (D-11-Bernalillo) has passed the Senate by unanimous vote. The bill allows a victim of criminal sexual penetration to be granted, at the time of the offender’s sentencing, an order of protection that would remain in effect for the remaining duration of that court’s jurisdiction over the offender. The survivor can apply for an order of protection after the perpetrator is released from prison without having to appear at the hearing.

“Victims of rape should not be forced to relive their trauma to receive an order of protection,” said Senator Lopez. “This law provides additional protections for survivors of criminal sexual penetration.”

Rachel’s Law is named for Rachel Gonzales whose father was convicted of raping her starting at the age of ten. After he was released from prison, he attempted to contact her through social media and with a Christmas card. Under current law, Rachel could be required to appear in court to seek additional orders of protection.

Criminal sexual penetration is a devastating crime. Enacting this legislation will be a victory for all survivors,” said Senator Lopez. “I call on the House to take up this bill and send it to the Governor’s desk.”

One in four females and one in 20 men in New Mexico will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.