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Bipartisan Sex Offense Legislation Signed by Gov. Ivey Praised by Attorney General Marshall

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall praised Alabama’s new sex offense legislation recently signed by Governor Ivey. The new bill that will strengthen the state’s sex offense laws passed the Alabama legislature with strong, bipartisan support. It was jointly proposed by the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of Prosecution Services, the state agency that provides resources to district attorneys’ offices throughout Alabama, directed by Mr. Barry Matson. Senator Vivian Figures sponsored the legislation in the Senate and fostered its passage, while Representative Randy Wood shepherded the bill in the House.

Attorney General Marshall was effusive in his appreciation today, saying “I appreciate the leadership of Senator Figures, Representative Wood, and all members of the Legislature who played a role in bringing this important legislation to fruition. This legislation gives Alabama prosecutors one more tool to protect our children and other vulnerable persons from the devastating effects of sexual misconduct.”

Marshall equally attributed credit to the Office of Prosecution Services and the State’s district attorneys “for recognizing the need for this law and for their steadfast dedication to protecting the people of Alabama.”

Executive Director Matson voiced expressed his appreciation as well, noting “Government has no higher calling than the protection of its citizens, especially its most vulnerable. I am grateful to the sponsor, Vivian Figures, members of the Legislature, and Governor Kay Ivey for the enactment of SB 301.  The leadership of the Attorney General’s office under Steve Marshall has demonstrated their strong commitment to protecting Alabama’s children.”

The crux of the new law is that it creates four new sex-related criminal offenses, according to the Attorney General’s press release:

Distribution of a private image, also known as “revenge porn” or “nonconsensual pornography,” will now be a class A misdemeanor for the first offense and class C felony for subsequent offenses.  This covers distributing intimate, private images of someone when the depicted person did not consent to the transmission and the perpetrator intended to harass or intimidate the depicted person.

  • Sextortion is the use of threatening communications, often online, to induce the victim to engage in unwanted sexual activity. This will now be a class B felony.
  •  Assault with bodily fluids has increasingly occurred in recent years with the use of seminal fluid to attack a victim; attacking law enforcement personnel with bodily fluids is also a regrettably frequent occurrence in jails and prisons. This will now be a class A misdemeanor (or a class C felony if the offender knows he or she has a communicable disease).
  • Directing children to engage in sexual acts will be a class C felony if the offender directs children to engage in sexual contact with one another; it becomes a class A felony if the offender directs the children to engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse.

To give context to these classifications, class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, class C felonies by one to 10 years’ imprisonment, and class B felonies two to 20 years. The law also strengthens the existing crime known as “electronic solicitation of a child” to cover certain grooming behaviors by would-be child molesters. The act also changes the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act by allows judges to exempt juveniles from sex-offender registration if they were found to have engaged in sexting-type behaviors.

The law also strengthens the existing crime known as “electronic solicitation of a child” to cover certain grooming behaviors by would-be child molesters. The act also changes the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act by allows judges to exempt juveniles from sex-offender registration if they were found to have engaged in sexting-type behaviors.