Tuesday, April 26, 2011

PA Judiciary Committee Approves Shapiro Bill

from the inbox:

The House Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved bipartisan legislation (H.B. 924), originally sponsored by state Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-Montgomery, which would make it a felony offense for a teacher or school employee, coach or counselor, to engage in sexual relations with any student.

Currently state law protects children by criminalizing sexual contact with children under the age of 16 by a school employee or volunteer. Unfortunately, the law does not provide the same protections for all students.

“It’s plain and simple – this is a loophole in our law that must be fixed,” said Shapiro. “Those we entrust to educate and watch over our children should not engage in any sexual activity with them at any age. This commonsense legislation affords the same protections to all children in schools and extracurricular activities from any adult who violates their position of trust. This commonsense bipartisan legislation will protect our children.”

Under H.B. 924, an employee or volunteer of a school or a child care center who engages in sexual contact with any student commits a felony of the third degree, which could be punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000.

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