HOBBS — Gov. Susana Martinez has signed Racheal’s Law, legislation that will help protect victims of sexual assault from their abusers.
House Bill 27, sponsored by Rep. David Gallegos, R-Eunice, allows the courts to grant permanent restraining orders against convicted sexual predators to keep them from contacting their victims. It also allows courts to grant these orders without requiring the victim to be present in the courtroom.
“As a career prosecutor, I’ve seen firsthand the tragic impact that sexual assault has on our families. And through trying tough cases like physical and sexual abuse against children, I learned that providing justice to victims and working to prevent these horrible crimes are some of our most important duties,” Martinez said. “This legislation is an important step forward in supporting the victims of these heinous crimes. I’m proud to sign this bill, and I thank Rachael for having the courage to stand up and speak up.”
The legislation is named after Rachael Gonzales, who was repeatedly raped as a child by her father, who later made repeated attempts to contact her following his release from prison.
Martinez has spent her entire career protecting children, putting criminals like rapists and abusers behind bars, and advocating for victims. She fought hard to pass “Katie’s Law” in New Mexico, expanded it as Governor, and now more DNA evidence is being used to solve rape, sexual assault, murder, and other violent crimes. In 2014, Martinez made New Mexico the 10th state in the U.S. to enact “Erin’s Law,” providing for age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness training in New Mexico’s schools.
Martinez also secured funding in this year’s budget, which she recently signed into law, to clear the backlog of rape and sexual assault kits that exists in police department throughout New Mexico. Martinez and her administration remain committed to working with law enforcement partners throughout the state to ensure that these untested kits are crosschecked against a nationwide database to hold more criminals accountable and provide more justice for victims.