Raleigh Newsmakers forum issues with convicting sexual assault crimes in North Carolina

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Carolina Public Press held a public forum about issues surrounding convicting sexual assault crimes in North Carolina, in Raleigh on March 20. The forum followed the release of its statewide investigative collaboration, Seeking Conviction: Justice elusive for NC sexual assault survivors. Eleven news organizations participated in the collaboration, which began in March and is ongoing, having reached a viewership of more than 1.5 million so far.

Panelists are Rep. Chaz Beasley, Mecklenburg (D); Mary Williams-Stover, executive director of the NC Council for Women; Monika Johnson Hostler, executive director, NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Paul Phelan Jr., instructor developer, North Carolina Justice Academy; Lauren Schwartz, sexual assault nurse examiner and director of The Solace Center, InterAct of Wake County; and Amanda Thompson, Laboratory Assistant Director for Administration Operations with the State Crime Laboratory. Moderators are Carolina Public Press Managing Editor Frank Taylor and lead Investigative Reporter Kate Martin.

Recently, Beasley announced legislation to close several loopholes in the state’s sexual assault laws. On Monday, April 29, the House unanimously approved the measure. Now, it will move on to the Senate.

Carolina Public Press held similar forums, with different panelists, in Fayetteville and the Charlotte area. The forums brought experts, law enforcement, survivors, policy makers, state agencies, prosecutors, law enforcement trainers, health care providers, advocates and victim service providers together for public, in-depth conversations about the issues surrounding prosecuting sexual assault crimes in North Carolina.

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