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Pennsylvania creates criminal offense of sexual extortion

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November 29, 2019

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania is creating the criminal offense of sexual extortion to help combat what authorities say is a growing crime targeting children.

The legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Tom Wolf takes effect in two months.

The law makes it a third-degree felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison, if the victim is under 18 or the perpetrator has shown a pattern of engaging in sexual extortion.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ted Nesbit of Mercer County, says Pennsylvania law didn’t adequately cover the crime and the legislation helps Pennsylvania keep pace in a digital age that facilitates sexual extortion.

The law defines sexual extortion as using a threat of some type to coerce a victim into a sex act, simulate a sex act, undress, or make a video or image of it.

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