FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Bill Kortz
House passes sexual assault legislation
HARRISBURG, Dec. 7 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, said the House passed legislation today that would create a special felony charge for sports officials and volunteers who sexually assault children in their programs.
"In light of the recent sexual assault scandal at Penn State involving former defense coach Jerry Sandusky, I cosponsored and voted for this legislation to ensure nothing of this nature can occur so easily and so long undetected again," Kortz said.
House Bill 1397, authored by Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery, would make it a third degree felony for a sports official, volunteer or employee of a nonprofit to engage in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse or indecent contact with a child under 18 years of age who is participating in the sports program. The maximum penalty is seven years imprisonment and $15,000 fine.
"Sports official" would be defined as including every person serving the sports program as coach, assistant coach, trainer, attendant, manager, instructor or rules enforcer, whether paid or not.
The bill passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 194-0.
Kortz said the state House also is expected to consider other related legislation, including H.B. 2051, authored by Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York, which adds state-related institutions like Penn State under Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law.
Two other bills, authored by Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., would allow access to information from the state-related institutions, amending both the Right to Know Law and the Pennsylvania Web Accountability and Transparency (PennWATCH) Act, making the state-related institutions subject to these laws.
Kortz signed on as a cosponsor to all of the above-named bills.