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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 17, 2020 10:10 AM
From: Representative Joanna E. McClinton and Rep. Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Protecting victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation from additional trauma by law enforcement
As we continue the important work of bringing more accountability and reform to law enforcement, we have to recognize an issue that often is overlooked: survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation sometimes face further victimization and trauma by police actions during investigations. 
This conduct, which has been labeled by the courts as “outrageous governmental conduct” arises whenever peace officers engage in sexual activity with persons who are either being investigated by police or under arrest. While other important legislative proposals would remove “consent” as a defense for officers who engage in these activities (HB 1807 & SB 851), our legislation would create a new crime entirely: Sexual assault by a peace officer. Under this proposal a peace officers commits a 3rd degree felony if he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a person that is being investigated by that peace officer, is under arrest, or is otherwise in official detention.
A peace officer convicted of this crime would have his/her employment terminated and would not be eligible to be rehired or employed as a peace officer anywhere in the Commonwealth. 
If we’re serious about addressing the ongoing injustices that can arise in the law enforcement world, we have to address the issues of sexual assault by a peace officer. Failure to face this issue directly means that victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation potentially risk further trauma by officers investigating them. 
We hope you will join us in support of this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2709