!UPDATE – 3/11/2023 SB 187 | Status: Enroll.
By Philip . . . WVRSOL has provided written testimony in opposition to SB-187 Creating new criminal offenses of sexual contact, intrusion, or abuse of students by a school employee.
OPPOSITION Response to SB 187
Creating new criminal offenses of sexual contact, intrusion, or abuse of students by school employee
January 27, 2023
Senate Judiciary Committee:
West Virginians for Rational Sexual Offence Laws (WVRSOL) is a West Virginia non-profit association and affiliate of the National Association for Rational Sexual Offence Laws (NARSOL), which advocates for society’s segment that is adversely affected by the sex offender registry. We try to help families impacted by the registry, seek ways to maintain and improve public safety, recommend prudent use of state funding in this area, and work to ensure that proposed legislation is constitutional.
WVRSOL opposes SB 187 because it is unconstitutional, unnecessary, and includes vague language.
SB 187 is unconstitutional, unnecessary, and vague
- The proposed code 61-8B-11b makes it a
felony offense for any teacher, principal, counselor, coach or other employee of any private or public elementary or secondary school to engage in sexual intercourse, sexual intrusion or sexual contact as defined by chapter §61-8B-1 of this code with any student enrolled in such school regardless of the age of said student. The fact that said student consented to such an act or that the act did not occur on school property or during a school function shall not be a defense.
- Doe v. Commonwealth’s Atty. for City of Richmond, 403 F. Supp. 1199 (E.D. Va. 1975) made it clear that private sexual conduct among consenting adults was constitutionally protected, and while we understand the Senate’s desire to protect children, this law would not. Additionally, it is already a felony for an adult to have sexual contact with a minor, so this code is not only unconstitutional but also unnecessary.
- Moreover, as written, §§61-8B-11b(b) says, “… and shall include the permanent forfeiture of any teaching or other certificate.” Includes vague language in that “… or other certificate.” consists of the entire universe of certificates outside the intended school employee audience, which isn’t narrowly written and fails the strict scrutiny test.
WVRSOL supports legislation that actually works to reduce abuse and sexual offenses, help children and families, and improve public safety. Unfortunately, SB 187 does none of these things. Therefore, we oppose and respectfully urge the Senate, its members, and Senate Judiciary Committee to reject SB 187.
Philip W. Kaso, Executive Director
West Virginia for Rational Sex Offence Laws (WVRSOL) | 304-760-9030 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Doe v. Commonwealth’s Atty. for City of Richmond, 403 F. Supp. 1199 (E.D. Va. 1975). Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/403/1199/1568467/
Click here for PDF of WVRSOL opposition letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee: SB-187 2023_Senate
On 2/14/2023 the Senate engrossed this bill and communicated it to the House Judiciary Committee. WVRSOL provided the same written testimony above in opposition to SB-187 to the House Judiciary Committee on 2/17/2023.
Click here for PDF of WVRSOL opposition letter to the House Judiciary Committee: SB-187 2023_House