After surviving a suicide attempt last year, Representative Genise Montecillo (D-St. Louis) wants to change state law to protect the privacy of people in similar situations. She thinks some police report details should be kept private, because she says her rights were violated when a newspaper reported her attempt.
“Nothing about this story served any public interest, not to mention it inflicted additional harm to my family and hindered my recovery,” said Montecillo. “Additionally, current law causes harm as it proliferates the stigma and discrimination surrounding suicide, depression, other mental health issues, rape and sexual assaults. My sole purpose is to prevent this from happening to anyone else, so individuals feel safe and know that when they call 911 for help, that medical information and privacy will be protected.”
The bill would be for cases of suicide, attempted suicide, sexual assault and other sexual offenses.
Jean Manecke with the Missouri Press Association thinks the bill needs more work.
“Not revealing information that describes the perpetrator, personally identifiable health information of any person? I mean, we’re talking about something as simple as the suspect has a limp. We can’t release that information?” said Manecke.
Moline Acres Mayor Michele DeShay supports Montecillo’s bill that would prevent the release of police report information in cases of suicide, attempted suicide, sexual assault and other sexual offenses.
“Sometimes we need to use our head and our hearts when we are dealing with delicate and certain situations,” said DeShay.”
The bill has been passed out of a House committee.