New bill introduced to modernize sexual assault laws

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Wednesday, supporters of House Bill 393, known as "Modernizing Sexual Assault Laws," gathered at the legislative building in Raleigh.

Sponsor Chaz Beasley (D - Mecklenburg) said the bill has four key points.

He said it would expand protections for kids so that if a caretaker is dating someone who's assaulting a child, the Department of Social Services has the tools to go after them.

Rep. Beasley said the bill would also close the incapacitation loophole.

"If someone is already in a vulnerable position--they're already mentally incapacitated for some reason--that if someone is a sexual assaulter they cannot take advantage of the fact that they are in an incapacitated state in order to sexually assault or rape them," Rep. Beasley said.

He said It would modernize statutory language so forcible rape would be rape and it would make drugging someone's drink illegal.

"Right now, we have a statute that makes drugging or adding some sort of foreign substance to someone's food illegal and this expands that to make sure that drinks are also included," Rep. Beasley said.

Leah McGuirk said she went out to a bar in Charlotte when someone drugged her drink. Thankfully, her friend was with her and kept her from being assaulted.

"I don't know if I would have had the courage to come forward and be as public with this as I have been had I been physically or sexually assaulted afterward," McGuirk said.

McGuirk said she felt shamed when filling a police report. She said the legislation could help other victims.

"It definitely would have made me feel less isolated and less alone," she said. "I feel that the more awareness we have regarding issues like drug-facilitated assault, the more support that we have for victims. So I'm hoping that this legislation will pass and it will inspire technology to be created that will hopefully catch these perpetrators when they're trying to victimize people."

The bill still needs to go before a committee and pass in the House and Senate before it becomes law.

Click here to learn more about the bill.
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