Jim Brochin touts sponsorship of a serial rapist bill in TV ad for his Baltimore County executive race.
Jim Brochin touts sponsorship of a serial rapist bill in TV ad for his Baltimore County executive race. (Screen grab from YouTube)

Maryland Sen. Jim Brochin is airing a new television ad in his race for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore County executive that talks about a bill he sponsored making it easier to convict serial sex offenders.

After many years of getting hung up in General Assembly committees, the bill finally passed this year and was signed by Gov. Larry Hogan.


The 30-second spot is running on all four Baltimore broadcast stations and county cable at a cost of $140,000 a week, Brochin said. He faces Councilwoman Vicki L. Almond and former Del. John A. Olszewski Jr. in the June 26 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

What the ad says: Jessica Bowes, described as a crime victim advocate, appears on screen saying: “It was an awful problem. Maryland law made it tough to convict serial sex offenders. And no one was doing anything about it.”

Then, Bowes says, Brochin got involved. “I thought he was just another politician,” she says. “But Jim went to work. He changed the law. He made it easier to convict repeat sex offenders.”

The visuals shift from Bowes to scenes of Brochin interacting with various people, as Bowes tells viewers Brochin is now running for county executive and that she “can’t think of anyone more dedicated to get results and keep our communities safe.” Another voiceover comes on saying, “Senator Jim Brochin, the real Democrat for county executive.”

Bowes returns to the screen to close with “we can trust Jim.”

The facts: Brochin’s claim is valid. He played a key role in changing the law to allow the admission of evidence of prior sex offenses when a defendant in a rape case claims the victim consented. It is an issue Brochin took up soon after he joined the Maryland Senate in 2003. He proposed the legislation repeatedly through the years. Certainly others played important roles in its passage this year, but Brochin can point to it as a career-capping achievement.

More edgy is his claim to be “the real Democrat” in the race. Of all the Democrats in the Senate, few have voted with Republicans on economic issues more than Brochin. But he questions Olszewski’s Democratic credentials on social issues and Almond’s on development and the environment.

Analysis: Crime is an issue dominating the news in Baltimore County, with the killing of Officer Amy Caprio in Perry Hall. The ad conveys a message that Brochin is a fighter who is concerned about his constituents’ safety. It is also crafted to appeal to women voters on a deeply personal issue, with a woman doing the speaking.

Accused sexual predators who claim their victims consented to sex will now face the possibility that evidence of their past behavior can be presented against them at trial under legislation passed Wednesday by the Maryland General Assembly.