Alaska House of Representatives passes legislation closing ‘Schneider loophole’

Alaska State Capitol

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Alaska House of Representatives voted Saturday to approve legislation that strengthens sex crime laws. House Bill 14 passed 36-to-1, addressing issues brought to the forefront by a 2018 crime.

Many Alaskans were outraged by a decision in 2018 that resulted in no jail time for Anchorage man, Justin Schneider, who pleaded guilty to choking and masturbating on the victim.

A plea deal agreement offered to Justin Schneider in 2018 illuminated the fact that ejaculating on a person without their consent could not be prosecuted as a sex crime in Alaska. House Bill 14 would change that.

House Bill 14 was sponsored by Rep. John Lincoln of Kotzebue and was approved with broad bipartisan support on a 36-to-1 vote. The Senate will now consider the legislation.

In addition to modifying our state’s sexual assault statutes, H.B. 14 recognizes the serious nature of strangulation to the point of losing consciousness as first-degree assault and includes it in a list of aggravating factors for sentencing. The bill also includes requirements that the criminal justice system notify victims of all sex crimes when a perpetrator is being released and allows a victim or their guardian to enter an opinion of a plea deal on the record.

“This legislation is a step in the right direction and provides an important tool for prosecutors to confront Alaska’s profound struggles with violence against women,” Representative Lincoln stated in a press release. “Many organizations and individuals deserve credit for this bill’s progress. Most of all, I thank the women who found the courage to share difficult personal stories during committee hearings.”



 
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