COLUMBUS—State Representative Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) today announced the passage of the Victims Privacy and Protection Act by the Ohio House of Representatives, legislation sponsored by Rep. Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton). House Bill 451 excludes certain depictions of victims from being released in public records requests, removing the possibility of re-victimization in situations that are often already traumatizing.
House Bill 451 is common sense legislation that prevents sensitive and private material held by police departments and other agencies from being legally released in public records requests. The lack of protections within Ohio Public Records Law regarding compromising depictions of victims was revealed in a 2016 Ohio Supreme Court case, Caster vs. Columbus, to which the bill was drafted as a response. The case dealt with digital media that violates bodily privacy and its availability through records requests after the conclusion of an initial trial.
“House Bill 451 is a much needed bill that will prevent sensitive materials from going public,” said Hoops. “You are already dealing with a very traumatic situation and this will keep an individual from being re-victimized by a public records request.”
This legislation specifically prevents the release of visual depictions of a victim when it would be considered an intrusion of bodily privacy and in cases of sexually-oriented offenses. Visual depictions of a victim may include photos, film, videotapes, digital images and visual or printed material.
House Bill 451 is a Buckeye Pathway bill, providing protections and security to Ohioans. It has support from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
Having passed out of the House, the bill now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.