By Bob Katzen

The House gave initial approval to a bill creating the crime of rape of a person with a physical disability and imposing up to a life sentence on anyone convicted of this crime.

Supporters said it is important to recognize the increased vulnerability of a disabled person to predatory conduct and noted this proposal is similar to what already exists for those who are intellectually disabled.

“I was approached personally by the family of an individual for whom this has happened to and have been endeavoring this for several years,” said sponsor Rep. Elizabeth Poirier (R-North Attleboro). “There needs to be more protections in place for physically disabled individuals in a situation like this. I have high hopes that there will be favorable passage of this bill and the family will ultimately find some peace.”

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