Assembly Passes Legislation to Prohibit Sexual Contact Between Police Officers and Individuals in Custody

February 7, 2018

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) announced the Assembly has passed legislation that would establish incapacity to consent when a person is under arrest, in detention or otherwise in actual custody (A.8823-A, Braunstein).

“This legislation helps ensure that New York’s laws regarding consent protect all individuals, including individuals held in police custody, from sexual abuse,” said Speaker Heastie. “It is simply wrong that someone exercising custodial government authority, such as a police officer, would violate the trust that should exist between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

Under current law, sexual contact is prohibited between corrections officers and parole officers and those in their custody, but this statutory restriction does not expressly include police officers. This legislation would amend the Penal Law to also expressly include police officers.

"The power dynamic between an individual in custody and a law enforcement officer is such that the person in custody is powerless to consent to sexual activity," said Assemblyman Braunstein, sponsor of the bill. "This legislation will ensure that individuals in police custody are free from coercive sexual behavior committed by officers exploiting their authority."