County senator creates bill to amend sexual assault laws

7 years ago

AUGUSTA, Maine — State lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it easier for victims to report sexual offenses and increase convictions for crimes that now go unpunished, according to its sponsor.

Supporters of LD 654 testified before the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee earlier this month that the bill would tighten up laws surrounding a crime that remains vastly underreported in Maine.

Opponents, on the other hand, argued that it would place burdensome restrictions on couples.

The committee voted 10-2 to recommend passage of the bill that was introduced by Sen. Michael Carpenter, D-Houlton, a former Maine attorney general.

The measure creates a new violation under which an individual can be found guilty of gross sexual assault if that person “engages in a sexual act with another person who has not consented to the sexual act.”

The bill also would repeal a clause that, under certain circumstances, has prevented individuals from being prosecuted because the victim voluntarily consumed drugs or other intoxicants.

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