The Senate passed legislation on Wednesday that would criminalize the coercion of sexual conduct, according to Senator Randy Vulakovich, a co-sponsor and strong supporter of the bill.
Senate Bill 1134 would establish sextortion as a specific criminal offense with consequences comparable to similar sexual offenses. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Sextortion occurs when sex or sexual images are demanded in lieu of money or other items with financial value. The act is recognized as a form of sexual assault and is criminalized in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Texas and Utah.
“As a former police officer, I have seen this inexcusable and exploitive behavior,” Senator Vulakovich said. “Too often, victims are often unable to recover from the stigma and its psychological repercussions. This legislation will create stronger punishments to help deter this cruel behavior.”
While sextortion has a long history, its use has grown in both intensity and frequency in the digital age, outpacing current laws and mechanisms, while leaving victims with inadequate resources and perpetrators unaccountable. Victims confront sextortion today in daily interactions.
The legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Office of Victim Advocate and the District Attorney’s Association.
Contact: Nate Silcox (717) 787-6538