SENATE, No. 707

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JOSEPH PENNACCHIO

District 26 (Morris and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides that committing a sex act with a minor constitutes sexual assault against the minor under certain circumstances.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning certain sexual assaults and amending N.J.S.2C:14-2.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    N.J.S.2C:14-2 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:14-2.  Sexual assault.  a.  An actor is guilty of aggravated sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:

     (1)   The victim is less than 13 years old;

     (2)   The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old; and

     (a)   The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree, or

     (b)   The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim by virtue of the actor's legal, professional, or occupational status, or

     (c)   The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, [or] stands in loco parentis within the household or is in a dating relationship with the victim’s parent, resource family parent or guardian;

     (3)   The act is committed during the commission, or attempted commission, whether alone or with one or more other persons, of robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault on another, burglary, arson or criminal escape;

     (4)   The actor is armed with a weapon or any object fashioned in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon and threatens by word or gesture to use the weapon or object;

     (5)   The actor is aided or abetted by one or more other persons and the  actor uses physical force or coercion;

     (6)   The actor uses physical force or coercion and severe personal injury is sustained by the victim;

     (7)   The victim is one whom the actor knew or should have known was physically helpless, mentally defective or mentally incapacitated.

     Aggravated sexual assault is a crime of the first degree.

     b.    An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.

     c.     An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:

     (1)   The actor uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury;

     (2)   The victim is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor's legal, professional or occupational status;

     (3)   The victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and:

     (a)   The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or

     (b)   The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim; or

     (c)   The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household; or

     (d) The actor is in a dating relationship with the victim’s parent, resource family parent or guardian;

     (4)   The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.

     Sexual assault is a crime of the second degree.

(cf: P.L.2004, c.130, s.13)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would amend the sexual assault statute to add more protection for young victims who are taken advantage of by persons who have authority over them.

     Under current law, set out in N.J.S.2C:14-2a.(2), a person who commits an act of sexual penetration with a minor who is at least 13 years old and less than 16 years old is guilty of aggravated sexual assault if the person has supervisory or disciplinary power over the minor by virtue of the person's legal, professional, or occupational status, or if the person is a resource family parent (i.e., a foster parent), a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household.  Aggravated sexual assault is a crime of the first degree, punishable by a term of imprisonment of 10 to 20 years or a fine of up to $200,000 or both.

     N.J.S.2C:14-2c.(3) also provides that under these circumstances an act of sexual penetration with a minor who is at  least 16 but less than 18 years old constitutes sexual assault, a second degree crime punishable by a term of imprisonment of five to 10 years or a fine of up to $150,000 or both.

     P.L.2000, c.60 amended the sexual assault statute to add the phrase “of any nature or in any capacity” to the existing language concerning “supervisory or disciplinary power” in N.J.S.2C:14-2c.(3) in order to clarify that the provision is intended to cover individuals with supervisory or disciplinary power in volunteer organizations. (See Senate Judiciary Committee Statement to S-84 of 2000-2001, dated January 31, 2000.)

     In accordance with the Legislature’s philosophy of extending protections to minors who may be taken advantage of by persons in authority, this bill would provide that a person in a dating relationship with the victim’s parent, resource family parent or guardian is also guilty of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault (depending on the age of the victim) if he commits an act of sexual penetration with a minor under the age of 18.  Adults in this situation may not exactly fit the statute’s definition of “supervisory or disciplinary power” or of “standing in loco parentis within the household” (particularly if they do not live with the victim’s parent) but nonetheless can take advantage of their young victims by using their authority over them.

     This bill also adds the phrase “of any nature or in any capacity” to the existing language concerning “supervisory or disciplinary power” in N.J.S.2C:14-2a.(2) in order to be consistent with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:14-2c.(3) as amended by P.L.2000, c.60.