Bill Protecting Spousal Assault Victims Nearing Governor's Desk

AB-1522 Created In Response To Case Of Crystal Harris

A local woman spoke with 10News on Friday about her fierce battle to pass a bill that aims to end alimony payments for spouses convicted of violent sexual felonies against their partner.

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AB-1522 is one vote and one signature away from becoming state law. Carlsbad financial adviser Crystal Harris said she is amazed her idea has come this far.

"It is gratifying... it really is," she told 10News.

After her husband raped her in 2008, he served time in jail until he was convicted of the crime and sentenced to prison in 2010.

His trial lasted four months. During that time, she was required to pay him alimony.

"Even if it was one dollar, it's humiliating and degrading to have a victim pay her own perpetrator," she said.

Harris told a judge she was going to change state law and make it so those convicted of violent sexual crimes would no longer be entitled to alimony payments from their victim spouse.

"The judge sat up and said, 'You're going to change the law?' I said, 'Yes, I am. I'm going to have to,'" she said.

From that point, Harris received major support from District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, lawmakers and many others.

"I don't think there's a single lawmaker that's not a coauthor on this bill," said Harris.

The State Assembly recently voted unanimously in favor of AB-1522. On Thursday, the State Senate did the same.

AB-1522 will now go back to the Assembly for a final vote and then to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. If he signs it, the bill will become law sometime in January.

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