Two Minnesota congressional members this week are reintroducing bipartisan sexual assault legislation named after a former University of Minnesota student-turned-activist whose rape case brought national attention.
The Abby Honold Act would fund a pilot program for police investigators to be trained in interviewing techniques that acknowledge the trauma suffered by a rape victim. The program would be evaluated after two years to determine if it should continue.
U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, a Republican representing the Sixth District, and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced the bill last year in both houses of Congress. Though the Abby Honold Act received bipartisan support, it was never voted on. The bill was tied to the Violence Against Women Act, which legislators voted only to fund without any new measures due to the larger budget debates over a border wall.
Both Emmer and Klobuchar announced that they are reintroducing the bill. Honold said she was grateful for the second attempt.
“I am really hopeful that we will see our treatment of sexual assault victims start to improve in many different ways this upcoming year,” she said.
Honold’s pursuit for justice followed her 2014 rape by a fellow U student. He was arrested by Minneapolis police but released three days later without being charged. Honold blamed Minneapolis police for failing to properly investigate the case.
An investigator from another police department picked up her case, found other victims, and was eventually able to gather the evidence for prosecutors to charge. He later pleaded guilty to the rapes and was sentenced to less than six years in prison.
Brandon Stahl • 612-673-4626