Bill introduced to remove spousal exception from sexual battery law

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – There is an exception for certain sexual crimes that lawmakers say shouldn’t be there.

Legislators discussed a bill Monday that would eliminate the spousal exception in sexual battery cases. Currently, it is illegal for everyone who isn’t married to commit sexual battery.

The state statute defines sexual battery as the touching of a victim who is not the spouse of the offender with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of the offender or another.

Historically, spouses have had exceptions for a variety of things. At one time, even rape was a spousal exception, but legislators have since changed those laws.

Last year a bill that would extend the sexual battery law to married people was passed out of committee but never reached the floor. This session, lawmakers are looking at it early.

“You unfortunately do have spouses, both male and female, who don’t treat their spouses right, and there’s no reason to have an exception that protects them,” said Topeka Representative Fred Patton, who also chairs the House Judiciary Committee that is taking up the bill.

“You shouldn’t have a right to abuse your spouse just because the law says you can. I mean you should treat your spouse better, I think, than you should anyone else, so why have exceptions like that in the law,” Patton said.

The bill could voted on next week and would be up to House leadership to take it to a full vote on the floor.

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