House of Delegates advances legislation criminalizing sexual abuse against spouse

Charleston, WV (AP)- The House of Delegates advanced a bill criminalizing certain sexual assaults against a spouse in West Virginia for the first time. 

The bill removes marriage as a defense to first- and third-degree sexual assault.  

The legislation now goes to Governor Jim Justice for final approval.

There are two crimes of sexual violence outlined in the state code: penetrative assault and the forcible touching of a person’s sexual organs, breasts, and some other areas by another person.  

For the latter offense, there exists a martial exemption that shields a person from conviction if the crime is perpetrated against their spouse. 

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