Rabb lauds passage of his measure to stop sexual assaults in police custody

HARRISBURG, July 7 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today said he is honored that legislation he introduced 18 months ago to stop sexual assaults in police custody is on its way to becoming law.

Rabb said his measure (H.B. 1807) to close a dangerous loophole that has allowed police who sexually assault a person in custody to use sexual consent as a defense was amended into legislation (H.B. 256) relating to corrections institutions. 

“This is another victory for Pennsylvanians who took to the streets across our commonwealth demanding real police accountability,” Rabb said. “While we have a long way to go in order to change the system and right the wrongs of the past and present, we must commit ourselves to destroying its toolbox, tool by treacherous tool.”

Rabb’s H.B. 1807 was among nearly 20 Democratic bills that were presented to House Republican leadership on June 8 when a handful of Black legislators commandeered the Speaker’s rostrum demanding immediate legislative action on police violence and police accountability.

After bipartisan negotiation, House Republican leadership agreed to support four Democratic bills, which have now been passed unanimously in both chambers of the General Assembly, including Rabb’s legislation (amended into H.B. 1841) to create a game-changing statewide law enforcement misconduct database.

“Police officers are supposed to use their authoritative power to protect the public, not prey on the innocent or simply move to another precinct when they’re caught betraying the public’s trust,” Rabb said. “It was ludicrous that this major oversight in our legal system has received such minor attention. Correcting this wrong brings us another step closer to correcting all wrongs and offering long-overdue justice for those who have been abused by the system for far too long.”

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to soon sign the legislation into law.