Pennsylvania creates criminal offense of sexual extortion

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania is creating the criminal offense of sexual extortion to help combat what authorities say is a growing crime targeting children.

The legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Tom Wolf takes effect in two months.

The law makes it a third-degree felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison, if the victim is under 18 or the perpetrator has shown a pattern of engaging in sexual extortion.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tedd Nesbit of Mercer County, says Pennsylvania law didn’t adequately cover the crime and the legislation helps Pennsylvania keep pace in a digital age that facilitates sexual extortion.

The law defines sexual extortion as using a threat of some type of coerce a victim into a sex act, simulating a sex act, undressing or making a video or image of it.

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This story has been corrected to show the first name of the state lawmaker is Tedd, and not Ted.

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