Protect The Privacy Rights of Victims
“…all I can do is plead with you on my most primal level, as a father, with no options left to protect my child. Please don’t print the details of Lizzi’s private life. It’s not fodder for newsfeeds, and reporting on them will not change the fact that Seth Mazzaglia raped and murdered my daughter. It will only serve to cause my family further pain.”
Please stand with the family of Lizzi Marriott and victims of sexual assault. Irrelevant and private details about the personal lives of victims should not be shared in the media.
In 2012, Lizzi Marriott, a 19 year old New Hampshire college student who was studying to be a marine biologist, was viciously murdered and raped after rebuffing the advances of Seth Mazzaglia. He and his girlfriend threw her in body the Piscataqua River, and Lizzi was never found. Mazzaglia was ultimately convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
That should have been the last heard about Mazzaglia, but based on his appeal, in June of 2016 the New Hampshire Supreme Court made a dangerous decision that would have allowed private and unfounded information gathered about Lizzi that was deemed irrelevant and sealed by the judge during the original trial, to be released to the public.
Releasing Lizzi’s private information flies in the face of established Rape Shield Laws and NH’s Victim Bill of Rights which protect sexual assault victims by insuring that irrelevant information about a victim’s sexual past or private information is not admitted in court and shared in public.
(Update-November, 2016) After our petition was launched and Oral Arguments to keep the information under seal were heard by the NH Supreme Court, the court decided to reverse their decision and uphold Lizzi's legal rights, but the fight is not over. Her privacy rights hang in the balance and the legal battles to protect Lizzi’s rights drag on.
Lizzi's parents made a public plea to respect their daughter, and not add to the further pain their family has had to endure by sharing the information from the documents should they be unsealed. They also bravely are speaking up for the privacy rights of all victims of violent crime.
"My daughter’s private life is not something that should be discussed over dinner and is not a movie or a TV show. Please don’t disregard my daughter’s privacy rights and report on this sealed information, doing that only serves to further hurt our family and give voice to the animal who took her life." - Bob Marriott
“Please be respectful if these documents are released and don’t report the details...You have the opportunity to keep Lizzi’s private life private, please choose to take that opportunity.” – Melissa Marriott
We are glad to know that most major news outlets in New Hampshire have taken a stand and agreed not to publish the information, stating that it is not newsworthy and doing so would be wrong. But we know in this day and age, how just one source can spread information to the world.
Releasing this irrelevant information would only serve to create more pain for the Marriott family and would have the chilling effect of deterring victims of sexual assault from coming forward to seek justice. Please respect the privacy and dignity of Lizzi and all victims.
Lizzi's murderer took away her voice with his vicious disregard for her life. One small way we can speak up for her and all victims now is by urging everyone to act within the spirit of the law and keep Lizzi's private life her own. Thank you for supporting this critical issue.
To be delivered by New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
NH Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
PO Box 353 Concord, NH 03302
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