HARRISBURG – The House Judiciary Committee today approved legislation drafted by Rep. Carrie Lewis DelRosso (R-Allegheny/Westmoreland) that would protect care-dependent adults and punish those who use their position of power and authority to sexually exploit them.
The bill would amend the Crimes Code to create the offense of institutional sexual assault of a care-dependent person. The offense would be triggered when a caretaker engages in sexual intercourse or indecent contact with a care-dependent person who receives care in or from a facility. Facilities include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, private care residences and adult daily living centers.
“We cannot tolerate any type of abuse of our most vulnerable citizens, but sexual abuse may be one of the most disgusting forms. People who prey on the elderly and others in care facilities in this manner should be punished accordingly,” Lewis DelRosso said. “The problem is that the law isn’t strong enough yet for this sort of heinous behavior, but I’m working to fix that.”
Importantly, the legislation would not criminalize consensual sexual relations between spouses or other intimate partners.
A convicted person would commit a third-degree felony, punishable by up to seven years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $15,000.
House Bill 975
now moves to the full House for consideration.
Rep. Carrie Lewis DelRosso
33rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans