Use of drugs could lead to tougher sex assault sentences

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2002

JUNEAU -- Rapists who try to incapacitate their victims with drugs or alcohol could face tougher sentences if House Bill 297 becomes law.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, passed the House on Monday.

Under the bill, trying to weaken a victim by providing drugs or alcohol would be an aggravating factor to be considered at sentencing.

Aggravating factors let judges impose sentences beyond what would otherwise be allowed by law.

''When drugs or alcohol are used to lower the inhibitions of a person to a point where they become the victim of a sexual assault, the seriousness of the crime should be elevated in the eye of the court,'' Meyer said.

He said the measure was prompted in part by some assailants' use of date-rape drugs, which make it difficult for victims to recall details of an assault.

The bill would apply to all sexual assault and sexual abuse of a minor offenses.

The House approved the measure unanimously. It now goes to the Senate.

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