Husband fights for sexual assault reporting in healthcare facilities

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By: Capitol News Service
March 11, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- New legislation that would impose stricter reporting requirements for sexual abuse in healthcare facilities has cleared its first Senate committee.

It would require employees of healthcare facilities licensed by the state Agency for Health Care Administration to report suspected sexual abuse or face a third degree misdemeanor.

75-year-old Edward Bowman, whose wife was sexually assaulted in a hospital setting, has been pushing for the legislation for 13 years.

Earlier this year, Bowman embarked on a more than 100-mile walk from Mount Dora to the State Capitol to advocate for the legislation, which he’s named 'Clara’s Law' in honor of his wife, who passed away two years after her assault.

He says it’s the memory of Clara that’s kept him from giving up.

“In my wallet, I carry her wedding ring. It's been there over eight years. It's even made an impression on the other side, but that's my inspiration,” said Bowman. "That’s what keeps me going and I don't care how many times somebody tells me I can't do this or I can't do that. I say you watch me and see if I don’t."

Bowman is also pushing for a version of Clara’s Law on the federal level. It would put in place a tracking system to prevent those repeatedly accused or convicted of sexual assault in healthcare facilities from moving states and becoming re-licensed.

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