State Senate advances bill removing marital exemption for sexual abuse

Charleston, WV (WOAY) – Married West Virginians could face charges of specific acts of sexual abuse against their spouses for the first time under a bill passed by the State Senate.  

Former prosecuting attorney Ryan Weld proposed the legislation that would remove marriage as a defense to first- and third-degree sexual assault.  

There are two crimes of sexual violence in the state code.  

One is penetrative assault and the other is 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 committed against their spouse. 

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