|February 16, 2018 12:58 PM
|Senator Judith L. Schwank and Sen. Randy Vulakovich
|All Senate members
| We will shortly introduce legislation suggested by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape to criminalize the coercion of sexual conduct, commonly referred to as "sextortion." Since January, 2017, Utah, Arkansas, Alabama, Texas and California have recognized sextortion as a form of sexual assault that threatens and injures victims by criminalizing it. Similar bills are pending in other states, as well as in Congress.
Sextortion is extortion when sex or sexual images are demanded, instead of money or other things with financial value. While it has a long history, its use has grown in both intensity and frequency in the Digital Age, outpacing current laws and mechanisms, and leaving victims with inadequate recourse and perpetrators unaccountable. Victims confront it today in such daily interactions as employment and conditions of employment; legal, medical and other professional services; access to housing, educational and business opportunities; even in obtaining justice in the courts.
It is time to acknowledge the peculiar nature and harm of these acts and to deal with them appropriately. Our bill would establish sextortion as a specific criminal offense with consequences comparable to other sexual offenses.
We hope you will join us in dealing with this very important issue.
Introduced as SB1134