McClinton applauds unanimous approval of bipartisan bill to crack down on sexual extortion

HARRISBURG, June 5 – A bipartisan bill that would include sexual extortion as a sex crime unanimously passed the House today, according to state Rep.  Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, one of its authors.


McClinton introduced the bill (H.B. 1402) with Rep. Tedd Nesbit, R-Mercer/Butler.


“Currently, there is no state law that adequately names sexual extortion as a crime, despite it being a growing form of sexual exploitation in which an individual misuses their power to demand sexual acts, images, or videos from victims, usually in exchange for something the victim is heavily dependent upon such as a service or something of value,” McClinton said. “I’m happy that my House colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, also agree that combatting this crime is very important.”


McClinton said that sexual extortion can occur in any setting such as schools, workplaces, and community settings, but the most common setting is online.


“Perpetrators hack people’s accounts to gain access to their intimate photos to extort them or manipulate victims by tricking them into sending pictures and then extort them to send more images or to engage in sexual acts,” McClinton said.


The Department of Justice reports that 71% of sexual extortion cases involve victims under the age of 18, McClinton added, and is a significantly growing threat to children as they are considered easy targets because of their willingness to post personal information online.


The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.