WA Dem Legislators Do Away With HIV-Rape Penalties
Legislators say the bill, which now heads to the Senate for consideration, will reduce this often used prosecutorial penalty to the level of stealing a candy bar.
House Bill (HB) 1551 was passed by the state House by a vote of 57-40, with all Democrats voting yes, and all Republicans voting no.
The bill reduces the penalty for a suspect who intentionally infects a rape victim with HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor (or possibly gross misdemeanor).
According to information released by House Republicans, here's why this is a serious slap in the face to sexual assault victims:
"Port Orchard Republican Representative Michelle Caldier says prosecutors often use the HIV felony crime as a method to convict and put away rapists. She says that’s because it’s so difficult to get a rape conviction when sexual assault victims are reluctant to testify. The 26th District lawmaker says this new proposal would remove that prosecution tool"
The bill now moves on to the Senate. To see the non-partisan explanation of the bill, click on the button below.