Kansas Criminal Justice Bill Makes ‘Sextortion’ a Felony

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A criminal justice bill passed in Kansas comes with a slew of new laws and provisions including making sexual extortion a crime, enforcing stronger penalties for attempting to elude a police officer, and allowing spouses to be charged with sexual battery, Hays Post reports. The package will go to Gov. Laura Kelly for approval after passing the House by a vote of 118 to 3 last week, and the Senate followed 40-0. One provision makes it a crime for one spouse to touch the other with “the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of the offender or another” without consent. This is a way of removing an exemption in current law that shields spouses from charges of sexual battery.

Another provision prohibits the court from requiring a crime victim undergo a psychological examination during the prosecution, which stems from a 1979 Kansas Supreme Court case that Todd Thompson of the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association said was outdated and contributed to false understandings of sexual abuse. The bill also  makes it a felony crime to threaten to injure a person or the reputation of a person through the distribution of an image, video or other recordings of a person that is sexual in nature. This is aimed at preventing the use of blackmail and coercion, and heighten punishments for these crimes. Sexual extortion is illegal in other states including Pennsylvania. According to one report, the Justice Department received over 1,500 “sextortion” cases in 2018.

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