Lawmakers pass bill criminalizing sexual extortion

Legislators have approved a bill that would make sexual extortion a crime. SB 232 passed both the House and Senate without objection, and now goes to the Governor's desk for consideration. The bill would define sexual extortion as a threat made to a person "with an intent to coerce a victim to engage in sexual contact, in sexually explicit conduct, or in simulated sexually explicit conduct."

The bill goes on to state that this could include threats to a person's property or their reputation. It further stipulates that demands that the victim participate in certain sexually explicit conduct or provide an "intimate image or video" of themselves engaged in such conduct would be covered under this statute.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, said the idea of updating the state's laws regarding sexual extortion came to him after his son's phone was stolen, when the thief began to demand sexually explicit materials from those in the contact list. 

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