HARRISBURG – Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny) announced today that her legislation to shield rape victims from irrelevant cross examination is on its way to the governor’s desk.
“I am grateful to my colleagues in both the House and Senate for passing this legislation,” Mihalek said. “My bill aims to carefully expand the rape shield law to cover instances where the rape victim may be asked about prior victimizations or allegations of victimizations that he or she has experienced for the purpose of attacking his or her character.”
House Bill 504
expands the rape shield law to cover prior sexual victimizations. Under current state law, evidence of a victim’s prior sexual history is prevented from being introduced in court when that evidence is intended to be used to undermine his or her credibility, however, it does not cover instances when the victim has been sexually victimized in the past.
“The journey to court for victims of these awful crimes can be very difficult and painful,” Mihalek continued. “As lawmakers, I believe it’s our responsibility to make that journey a little less painful.”
Mihalek’s legislation also expands the number of crimes to which the rape shield law would apply to cover additional sexual crimes such as human trafficking, incest, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children and the sexual exploitation of children.
Mihalek’s bill, which passed unanimously in both the House and Senate, now heads to the governor’s desk.
Representative Natalie Mihalek
40th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Brooke Haskell