New Police Reform Legislation Seeks to Remove Sexual Assault Loophole

Chantilly, VA— Delegate Karrie Delaney (HD-67) introduced HB 5045 to ban sexual relations between arrestees and law enforcement officers. The Virginia General Assembly is set to consider it during the 2020 Special Session called in part to address police and criminal justice reform. 


Current Virginia code does not ban sexual relations between law enforcement and arrestees under their supervision, which would allow a defendant to argue in court that the interaction was consensual, despite significant power disparity between the parties. Closing this loophole serves as one of the House Democrats’ special session priorities.


“It is unacceptable that an arrestee could be sexually assaulted in Virginia and then the courts would not recognize the inherent power imbalance that exists in the interactions the public has with police,” Del. Delaney said. “While an arrestee is under the supervision of law enforcement, it is impossible for them to consent to any sexual relations, and it is long overdue that the General Assembly address this problem in Virginia’s code.”


Throughout her time in office, Delegate Delaney has been a champion for survivors of sexual assault. She has passed legislation that mandates treatment and transfer services for every survivor in Virginiaprovides additional privacy protections for survivors, and prohibits non-disclosure agreements that seek to cover up allegations of sexual assault.