Police in Kansas are now banned from having consensual sex with people in custody under a new bill signed into law by state governor Jeff Colyer.
Prior to the new law being rubber stamped Thursday, the state was one of 33 that did not explicitly ban police officers from consensual sexual activity during the course of a traffic stop, a custodial interrogation, an interview in connection with an investigation, or while the law enforcement officer has such person detained, reported the Wichita Eagle.
Sponsored by state representative Cindy Holscher, the measure was one of a package of law enforcement reforms signed into law by Republican governor Coyler.
Kansas law had already addressed “sexual relations between police and persons in jail, but it didn’t say anything about if they had been stopped on the streets or were in their custody,” Holscher said, as cited by the outlet. “This helps the person who was detained in their neighborhood or stopped for a ticket, that type of thing.”
The bill was tabled following the 2017 release of Kansas City man LaMonte McIntyre, jailed for a murder he did not commit for 23 years.
“As part of the investigation regarding the role of law enforcement and his case, allegations were brought forward regarding improper relationships on the part of police officers and detainees,” Holscher said. “LaMonte’s own mother indicated having been coerced into sexual relations with local police who threatened her with arresting members of her family if she did not comply with their wishes.”
New York moved to close a similar loophole recently, with a new bill stating that people in police custody are unable to consent to sex. The bill was passed after a teenager last year said she had been raped by two police officers in the back of a police van, but the officers claimed the sex was consensual.
Several members of the Kansas House Judiciary Committee were surprised that the behavior outlawed in the new Kansas bill wasn’t already prohibited.
“Those of us who have been there for a few years thought it was something that had already been taken care of in the law,” state Representative John Carmichael told the Kansas City Star.