Sexual Assault Task Force Announcement

Capitol Rotunda

September 21, 1999

 Good afternoon.  We're here today to announce creation of a task force to address the crime of sexual assault.  There's been much press coverage in the last few years indicating that the rate of violent crime in our country is decreasing, a trend which all of us have long awaited.  If you look closely at those figures, however, you'll see something disturbing. 

While nationally the overall violent crime rate has decreased, the number of completed rapes against victims over 12 years old has increased.  Understanding why women are exposed to an increasing rate of sexual assault at a time when other violent crime is decreasing is important to the safety and peace of mind of the women of this Commonwealth, and those who care about them.

 Since taking office, I've undertaken a number of key initiatives to reform the criminal justice system.  This task force is another one of those efforts.  I'm asking the group of 22 Kentuckians who I've named to this task force to study the crime of sexual assault and to recommend improvements to our criminal justice system on behalf of its victims. 

 Their assignment is to bring me recommendations for potential legislation by January 1st.  We've had a pretty good track record of finding outstanding leadership for efforts like this one, and I have to tell you I've done it again.  I've asked my wife Judi to serve as the honorary chair of the task force.  Her commitment to improving the welfare of women in Kentucky has led her to agree to assume that responsibility.

 Additionally, I've asked one of our state's outstanding Commonwealth's Attorneys Steve Wilson and State Representative Joni Jenkins to serve as co-chairs under Judi.  Joni will be wearing both her hat as a legislator and as a staff member of the rape crisis center located in Louisville. 

 I'm particularly pleased that three other key legislators have agreed to serve with Joni, including Senators Marshall Long and Bob Stivers and Representative Charlie Geveden.   The rest of the membership of the Governor's Task Force on Sexual Assault is made up of an extraordinary group of Kentuckians who bring to this assignment expertise related to every aspect of this crime. 

 Safety and justice must be available to every Kentuckian.  They can't be elusive to any group of our citizens, and this particularly includes women and children.  It's with this belief in mind that I sign the Executive Order to create the Governor's Task Force on Sexual Assault.