State lawmakers in New York passed a bill on Thursday prohibiting police officers from having sex with people who are being held in custody.
The legislation was introduced and passed unanimously following a case in which two former detectives, Eddie Martins and Richard Hall, were accused of raping an 18-year-old woman who was arrested on marijuana charges in September 2017.
According to the Daily News, the woman, who goes by the pseudonym Anna Chambers, said the two took her to a parking lot where they raped her and forced her to perform a sex act. The cops, who both quit the police force in November, admitted to having sex with the woman and said it was consensual.
New York State law already ruled out the possibility of consensual sex between correction officers and prisoners. And while the same standard already applied to jails within police stations, it didn’t apply to cops, who could argue the sex was consensual and face a misdemeanor for misconduct instead of a more serious charge like felony rape.
Bill S7708, which was sponsored by Sen. Andrew Lanza, explicitly states that anyone under arrest or in detention is incapable of giving consent.
New York City Council member Mark Treyger, who represents the district in Brooklyn where the alleged rape took place, called for the state to close the legal loophole.
Treyger lauded passage of the bill in a Friday tweet.
“This horrific rape outraged our community, and from day one I have made it clear I would do whatever it took to advocate for common sense consent laws to make sure that this could never happen again. Grateful to all the advocates that joined this fight.”
This horrific rape outraged our community, and from day one I have made it clear I would do whatever it took to advocate for common sense consent laws to make sure that this could never happen again. Grateful to all the advocates that joined this fight https://t.co/uGjsnYYfc6
— Mark Treyger (@MarkTreyger718) March 30, 2018
The loophole had been called “very troubling” by New York City Mayor de Blasio, and the NYPD supported legislation to close it.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had also supported the legislation, said the bill “closes an egregious loophole and helps protect against abuse in our justice system.”