Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) and Sen. Michael J. McCaffrey’s (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) legislation (2017-H 5990A / 2017-S 0610A) that would add the definition of “sexual exploitation” to the domestic abuse prevention law which would include acts by any person who willfully encourages, aids or coerces any child under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex acts was ceremonially signed by Governor Raimondo at a ceremonial bill signing last week.
The bills were signed into law by the governor on June 30.
“Sadly, this legislation is needed in order to protect children who are horrifically sexually harmed in domestic abuse situations. To profit off of the sexual abuse of a child one is tasked to nurture and protect, is one of the most despicable acts one can perpetrate upon a defenseless child and it should be punished with the full extent of the law. This bill will protect our children and punish these repulsive monsters,” said Craven, Chairman of the House Committee on Labor in a statement.
“Unfortunately, we need to update the domestic abuse law to provide for the punishment of the reprehensible practice of profiting off the sexual exploitation of minors in domestic situations,” said Senate Majority Leader McCaffrey. “The abuse of a child by someone who is charged with their care and nurturing is always horrific, but this is the next level of unfathomable abuse.”
“Sexual exploitation” is defined in the legislation as recruiting, employing, enticing, soliciting, isolating, harboring, transporting, providing, persuading, obtaining, or maintaining, or so attempts, any minor for the purposes of commercial sex acts or sexually explicit performances; or selling or purchasing a minor for the purposes of commercial sex acts.
The legislation would also allow a parent, guardian, DCYF or a legal custodian to seek a protective order on behalf of a minor for domestic abuse or sexual exploitation.
Governor Gina Raimondo ceremonially signs legislation adding the definition of sexual exploitation to the domestic abuse prevention law. Joining her from left at the State House ceremony on November 10, 2017 are Sen. Erin Lynch Prata, Rep. Robert Craven, Family Court Judge Lia Stuhlsatz and Patricia Hessler of the Department of Children, Youth and Families, both of whom advocated for the passage of the bill. (Submitted photo)