Bipartisan Meehan bill would require business owners to report sexual assault allegations

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) would require owners and employees of massage establishments to report sexual assault allegations to police.

The Duty to Report Sexual Assault Act, H.R. 5865, introduced by Meehan and U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), aims to prevent owners of massage businesses from failing to report allegations of sexual assault among employees.

“Often, abusers become repeat offenders, assaulting multiple women while working at the same massage facility,” Meehan said. “But in some cases, massage facility owners are reluctant to report allegations of misconduct among their employees. Some just don’t know what to do or how to respond. Others may fear the negative publicity that would accompany an investigation by law enforcement. Reporting alleged assault will help victims understand their rights, like pursuing an investigation and pressing charges, and the resources available, such as local sexual assault programs.”

By requiring massage business owners to report sexual assault allegations, Meehan said, law enforcement agencies would be able to ensure that victims get the justice they deserve and potential future assaults are prevented.

“The sickening truths is, American women have a one in four chance of being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes,” Clark said. “When sexual violence persists at such a daunting scale, we all bear the weight and responsibility of it as a national injustice. The Duty to Report Sexual Assault Act is a small, but important step to ensure businesses and our criminal justice system are working in tandem to report and prevent sexual assault.”

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the Crime Victims’ Bar Association have supported the bill.

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