Sex crimes and PA Senate Bill 681
A new law in the state of Pennsylvania is going to create new legal remedies and consequences in cases where alleged sexual offenses occur. PA Senate Bill 681, which was enacted at the end of last March, is modeled after the state’s existing Protection from Abuse Act. The new law is designed to allow people who are alleging sexual offenses the option to seek a protection order that would prevent contact with themselves and the person of interest. Some feel the bill will highlight people who have been accused of sex crimes, making the stigma worse and giving the accused an even less of an advantage in court, regardless of whether they are guilty or not. Under the existing Protection from Abuse (PFA) Statute, protection orders were only available to those alleging types of domestic violence crimes between family members and/or former intimate partners. This new law does not require a prior family or intimate partner relationship, and will be available to any person who alleges “sexual violence” or “intimidation” that was committed by a person who is not a family member or former intimate partner. This could be a coworker, family friend, or complete stranger. For the purposes of PA Senate Bill 681, “sexual violence” includes actions or words that would otherwise be a crime under the sex offenses chapter of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. This includes conduct akin to rape, indecent assault, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, and other sexual offenses like indecent exposure. The definition of “intimidation,” by the new law, includes conduct by an adult (18 and older) that involves a victim who is a minor (17 and younger) that would otherwise be considered stalking or sexual harassment under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. Much like a PFA, if the court order is issued under the PA Senate Bill 681, the alleged perpetrator will be denied any contact with the person who filed the PFA and will be subject to any other impositions decided upon by the court. A violation of the new law is a criminal offense and would subject the offender to as long as six months in jail and as much as $1000 in fines. The law will go into effect in July of this year and its enactment highlights the need for anyone who is charged or accused of sex crimes to seek an experienced sex crimes attorney as soon as possible. If you have questions about sex crimes or this newly enacted law, call Pittsburgh sex crimes attorney Gary Gerson today for free consultation at 412-219-6875.