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Errington celebrates passage of co-authored consent legislation, calls for further action

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie) celebrated the passage of her co-authored legislation to close a legal loophole in Indiana’s rape laws.  

Currently, a sexual assault is only defined as an “act of rape” (IC 31-9-2-0.9) in Indiana if it is committed by threat of or use of force; results in serious bodily injury; is facilitated by a drug or controlled substance; or committed against a victim who is unable to consent due to mental disability. House Enrolled Act 1079 expands the definition of rape in Indiana Code to include the element of consent in instances in which a person “disregarded the other person’s attempts to physically, verbally, or by other visible conduct refuse the person’s acts.”

Errington first authored legislation to more fully define consent in Indiana in 2019. Additionally, she authored a consent bill in 2020 and co-authored nearly identical legislation in 2021

“Rape is traumatic enough on its own without the added injustice of survivors’ court cases being dismissed because our laws are antiquated,” Errington said. “I hope the 20% of Hoosier women who have experienced sexual assault are able to find healing in knowing that rape will not continue to go unprosecuted. Survivors deserve the dignity of the justice system recognizing their pain for what it is. 

“However, work remains. The original House bill version included language about rape by deception that was dropped in the final bill, and we need to monitor whether the language that passed will be interpreted by judges and juries to include cases like the heartbreaking one at Purdue University.

“We also need to bring the definition of sexual battery more in line with the new rape language. It requires the current higher bar of force or threat of force.”

Click here for a high-resolution photo of Errington.

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