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Rep.Zwiener, Erin

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Texas Legislature Creates New Criminal Offense For Groping, Other Sexual Contact  print page

by: Rep. Zwiener, Erin
05/24/2019

Texas Legislature Creates New Criminal Offense For Groping, Other Sexual Contact

Austin, TX — Lawmakers in both chambers of the Texas Legislature have approved a bill strengthening the state’s sexual assault laws. Senate Bill 194 by Sen. Charles Perry and sponsored in the House by Representative Joe Moody creates the criminal offense of “indecent assault” to address groping and other nonconsensual sexual contact that falls short of rape. Since Rep. Moody was in the Speaker’s Chair, Representative Zwiener laid the bill out for its final vote in the Texas House and joined 142 of her colleagues in voting it on to the Governor’s desk.

“The serious offenses outlined in this bill are all-too-common, and we must equip law enforcement with the tools of arrest and imprisonment for these crimes,” said Rep. Zwiener “We are showing that the State of Texas stands with survivors and takes sexual assault seriously in all its forms.”

Indecent assault would be designated as a class A misdemeanor and carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. Currently, Texas is one of only six states in the country without a similar offense, and crimes in the “indecent assault” category are fine-only offenses, similar to traffic tickets, with a maximum penalty of $500.

“I have been encouraged by our bipartisan work on the issue of sexual assault this session,” said. Rep. Zwiener. “Rep. Moody and Senator Perry did fantastic work on this legislation, and I look forward to seeing Governor Abbot sign the bill into law.”

Contact: Holly Doyle

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