Rep. Matt Lynch, a Republican representing District 76 and member of the House Health and Aging Committee, told ABCNews.com that Ohio already has a fund to compensate victims and last year those victims only received an average of $6,000 each, a far cry from what Berry, DeJesus and Knight would get if this bill passes.
"Each of these three victims would receive 100 times that amount – about a quarter of a million dollars each," Lynch said. "So we're effectively depleting the funds for other victims to give to these victims a total of around $900,000, plus free healthcare and free education."
"While I have tremendous sympathy for these three victims, I also have tremendous sympathy for all the other victims in the state of Ohio. I just think it's improper to single out these specific victims and reward them in this way," Lynch said.
"No amount of money can make these victims whole, but at the same time we are setting a number here – almost $900,000 – and I'm certain that there are rape and violent crime victims in Ohio that are receiving nowhere near that type of compensation," he added. "It just doesn't strike me as a proper judgment for us to make. And you have to worry that other victims – both past and future – will now have the expectation that their suffering is worth more than what they would otherwise receive."
Lynch also expressed concern that this new effort by the state to compensate Berry, DeJesus and Knight might dissuade people from donating to a separate fund set up in May to help the three women. The Cleveland Courage Fund has collected over $1.4 million. Lynch said he has donated to that fund.
"I'm afraid that when the average citizens read in the paper that these women are getting nearly a million dollars from the state of Ohio, they're going to be discouraged from donating to the private fund," Lynch said. "So then in the long run we're actually going to reduce the amount of contributions that these victims might receive."