State sexual assault reform

Published 12:17 pm Monday, November 4, 2019

Senate Bill 199-49-0 passed unanimously Thursday morning

RALEIGH—North Carolina now matches other states in the country on closing old legal loopholes regarding sexual assault. 

The North Carolina Senate passed SB 199-49-0 Thursday morning by a unanimous vote of 108-0. 

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If signed into law, the bill now means that North Carolinians can revoke consent of sex after the act has begun as well as further protections for children and making it illegal to drug someone’s food or drink. 

Before Thursday, North Carolina was the only state in the nation where continuing sex with someone after that person revoked consent was not considered a crime. 

There were two key points in the bill, including the revocation of sex and sex with someone who is incapacitated because of alcohol or drugs. The bill closed loopholes, which prosecutors have said made it difficult to prosecute sexual assault crimes throughout the state. 

State Senator Jeff Jackson has been trying to get the law chanced since 2015. Jackson tried several times over the last few years, but the bill died without a hearing until recently. 

Jackson said initially there was confusion about how controversial the bill was, but eventually other senators realized the controversy was not passing it. 

Legislation approved Thursday also increases the statute of limitations for child sexual assault victims to sue their abusers. The bill also expands the duty of anyone over the age of 18 to report knowledge of a sexual assault against a child; requires school personnel training on child sex abuse and sex trafficking; bans anyone deemed a high-risk sex offender online conduct that could endanger children and prohibits attempts to drug someone’s food or drink. 

Governor Roy Cooper has said he will study the bill carefully before deciding whether or not to sign it into law.