Minority Office — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2022
SENATOR STEWART’S BILL ON SEXUAL OFFENSES UNANIMOUSLY PASSES THE SENATE
This week, the Senate unanimously passed SB 692 Sexual Offenses, sponsored by Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando). The bill establishes consistency in the definition of female genitals in Florida statute.
“There is an issue in current statute where a woman’s genitals are defined only as vagina. By replacing the word with the defined term “Female Genitals” we establish consistency in statute as well as in arguments in court relating to sexual battery,” said Stewart.
The bill also addresses issues presented to legislative offices by the State Attorney’s office of the 15th District. The bill expands the statute of limitations to one year, once knowledge of the battery is obtained or reported to law enforcement, for individuals who were victims of sexual battery while mentally incapacitated, mentally defective, or physically helpless. Additionally, the bill provides that it is a life felony to commit sexual battery on a person 12 or older, and in the process use or threaten to use a deadly weapon or force likely to cause serious personal injury. It provides that substantial similarity is not required for admission of other crimes when prosecuting sexual offenses.
“I have always been a strong advocate in giving victims a voice by sponsoring bills that expand the statute of limitations for victims of sexual battery and assault. I’m happy we’ve been able to include individuals who may have been impaired at the time of the battery, giving them a chance to come forward and seek justice,” said Stewart.
The bill now moves to the Florida House of Representatives where it awaits hearing on the House floor.