– Legislation to protect older Pennsylvanians, authored by Rep. Carrie Lewis DelRosso (R-Allegheny/Westmoreland), has earned the approval of the House, Senate and Gov. Tom Wolf.
Act 61 of 2022
will extend the protections of the institutional sexual assault statute to cover elders and other care-dependent persons who are assaulted by those who have the responsibility of providing care.
“I will always be a proud advocate for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Lewis DelRosso. “After spending years contributing to our Commonwealth, these residents deserve to know they are safe and protected by the very communities they served.”
Current law gives extra protections to students, inmates, dependent children and others who are most vulnerable because of the institutional setting in which they find themselves. This new 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. It will not criminalize consensual sexual relations between spouses or other intimate partners.
A person convicted under this new subsection of institutional sexual assault would commit a third-degree felony, punishable by up to seven years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $15,000. Under this legislation, a facility is defined to include but is not limited to places such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, private care residences and adult daily living centers.
“This law will protect care-dependent persons and adequately punish those use who their position of power and authority to sexually exploit them,” Lewis DelRosso continued. “It is imperative that the Commonwealth protect those who cannot protect themselves.”