DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado lawmakers have moved one step closer to passing a bill that would give rape victims more protection.
The bill would essentially expand Colorado’s criminal Rape Shield Law to civil cases, keeping a victim’s sexual conduct from being admitted as evidence.
Sexual assault survivor Jane Klingensmith testified before lawmakers on Monday, detailing the attack and the court battle to follow.
“I had been seeing this eye doctor for approximately 15 years,” she said. “In a December 2015 appointment, he sexually assaulted me during the exam.”
Before losing his license, Dr. Paul Conkiling admitted to having sexual contact with at least 10 patients.
Documents from Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agency describe his motive as “picking unhappy women whom he had worked with for a long time.”
“I felt that I had to do something, and I was afraid to file a police report fearing I would be slut shamed,” Klingenmsith said.
She filed a civil lawsuit, and quickly learned that as far as questioning would go, little was left off the table.
“’Did you have undergarments on? How long or how short was your skirt? Stand up and show us.’ So that was pretty humiliating,” she said.
The line of questioning continued through her deposition, asked whether she was attracted to the doctor and then to detail her own sexual history.
“I was asked to provide the names and contact information of men whom I had a sexual relationship in the years prior to the assault,” she told a panel of lawmakers.
State Sen. Rhonda Fields is co-sponsoring a bill that would give rape victims who chose to go to civil court similar protections given to victims in criminal cases.
“It made sense and they deserve civil justice,” Fields said.
After years of rebuilding, Klingensmith is no longer afraid to share her story.
“When this becomes law, hopefully it will help others not have to go through what I did,” she said.
After unanimously passing out of a Senate committee Monday, the bill has an easy road to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.