By Bob Katzen

The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on legislation that would impose a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a $10,000 fine on any police officer who engages in sexual relations with anyone who is under arrest by the officer or another officer. The measure states that a person is incapable of consenting to sexual relations with officers under those circumstances. This law currently applies to prison guards and this bill expands it to police officers.

“Given the power imbalance of the situation, a person in police custody is unable to give genuine consent free of coercion,” said the bill’s sponsor Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton). “Hopefully this legislation, in addition to our existing sexual assault statutes, will eliminate ambiguity around issues of consent and help victims of such abuse feel more empowered to come forward.”

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