Pennsylvania Says, “No More!” to Sex Crimes in Sports

Pennsylvania lawmakers have had enough with sexual crimes perpetrated by officials in spots programs. After the Penn State sex abuse scandal that rocked the country in 2011 a spotlight was shone into locker rooms across the US.

Identifying the extent of the problem is difficult, however, as no data has previously been collected and tracked on sex-related criminal behavior inside sports programs. The best we have thus far is a report by a California organization that conducted surveys of athletes with regards to sex-related abuse. They reported that 27% of female respondents and 8% of male participants claimed to have been victims of sex-related abuse.

The problem that the Pennsylvania legislature is seeing is that in many cases of sex abuse in sports programs, victims are still minors yet are over the state’s consent age of 16, meaning the perpetrators cannot face statutory rape charges.

In order to address the problem, HB 112 was put into motion. The bill would make it a 3rd degree felony for any sports official, a position that has an inherent power over athletes that can extend to even their future careers, to engage in any sort of indecent contact or sexual intercourse with anyone under the age of 18 who are enrolled in the program.

The bill has currently passed in both Houses of the General Assembly. It has been sent to the Governor’s office and once signed there, it will go into effect after sixty days.