ESPN's Erin Andrews backs tougher anti-stalking bill

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Kitty Felde/KPCC

Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews

The House of Representatives is debating legislation today that toughens penalties for stalking. A sports journalist with a first-person perspective, Erin Andrews, supports the measure.

She covers competitions from football to basketball to the National Spelling Bee, but many people know ESPN’s Erin Andrews best for a nude video a stalker recorded through a hotel peephole and posted online.

Andrews joined Washington lawmakers to promote tougher anti-stalking laws. She says, "it doesn’t just happen to people that are in the limelight. It mostly happens to people just trying to live their everyday life."

The bill increases criminal penalties and expands the definition of stalking to include electronic surveillance. Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Garden Grove is its sponsor. "Stalking is about power and control," she says. "It’s a violation of the worst kind and we need to put a law in place in our justice system that helps and gives us every available tool to go after these perpetrators."

Andrews says she received many letters. "I’m still receiving them. From women that say, ‘Please go out and fight this. Please go out and show your face. Please lend your voice and please help strengthen laws, because we’re not able to do it.’ And that’s why I’m here today. I’m showing my face, I’m lending my voice, and I’m here to give this law some teeth."

The National Center for Victims of Crime reports that a quarter of victims receive intimidating e-mail or instant messages, and that one in 12 say someone monitors them with video cameras or listening devices.

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