CONCORD, N.H. — The father of a murdered New Hampshire college student said Wednesday his family feels a sense of peace knowing the privacy of future victims will be protected.
Lizzi Marriott, of Westborough, Massachusetts, was a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of New Hampshire when prosecutors say Seth Mazzaglia strangled her and dumped her body in a river in 2012. Her father, Bob Marriott, spoke at the signing of a bill that ensures that the private, unrelated sexual history of victims will remain sealed in court proceedings.
The state Supreme Court had initially ruled that such information could be public during Mazzaglia’s appeal, prompting objections from prosecutors, the Marriott family and advocates for sexual assault victims. Though the court later reversed itself, the ruling only applied to that case.
“I thank everyone who supported Senate Bill 9 for all your work to keep other families from enduring agony that we did as we fought to safeguard our daughter’s most basic rights,” Marriott told Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and lawmakers. “We are forever grateful for your commitment to victims of sexual assault everywhere and believe Lizzi rests easier knowing her great loss led to something for others.”
Sununu also signed three other bills aimed at protecting victims of sexual assault and other crimes. One makes it easier for women who become pregnant as a result of rape to terminate the parental rights of the rapist. Another clarifies that those accused of human trafficking or prostitution can’t argue that they didn’t know the victim was underage or that the victim consented to sex. The fourth changes the chapter title in the state law regarding sexual images of children from “child pornography” to “child sexual abuse images” to better reflect the nature and severity of the crime.
“These bills were all passed with strong bipartisan support, and today’s ceremony highlights that these issues are everyone’s issues,” Sununu said. “We can and must always work together to keep victims and children in New Hampshire safe.”