WICHITA, Kan. – A new Kansas law makes it a crime for police to have sex with people they pull over for traffic violations or detain in criminal investigations.
The new law bans sexual relations “during the course of a traffic stop, a custodial interrogation, an interview in connection with an investigation, or while the law enforcement officer has such person detained.”
Now, you may be asking, wasn’t that illegal already?
Kansas was one of 33 states where consensual sex between police and people in their custody wasn’t a crime.
That came as a surprise to members of the House Judiciary Committee, who got the new law passed in a bundled bill with several other law-enforcement measures. Gov. Jeff Colyer signed it into law Thursday.
Rep. Cindy Holscher, D-Olathe, introduced the bill.
She said it spun off the case of Lamonte Murray, a Kansas City, Kan., man released last year after spending 23 years in prison for a double murder he didn’t commit.
The investigation in that case led to multiple affidavits alleging that the detective who made the arrest, Roger Golubski, had a long history of coercing sex from women in Kansas City’s black community by threatening to arrest them or their relatives if they didn’t comply.
Holscher said she was also moved by a case in New York where a teenager claimed she had been raped by two police officers in the back of their van, but no charges were filed because the officers claimed the sex was consensual and therefore legal.
Kansas law previously said “there shouldn’t be sexual relations between police and persons in jail, but it didn’t say anything about if they had been stopped on the streets or were in their custody,” Holscher said.
“This helps the person who was detained in their neighborhood or stopped for a ticket, that type of thing,” she said.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle embraced the change, saying it was long overdue.
“Those of us who have been there for a few years thought it was something that had already been taken care of in the law,” said Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, an attorney and member of the Judiciary Committee.
He credited Holscher, who took office last year, for bringing a new perspective that uncovered the loophole.
“She called me about this. I said, ‘You mean it’s not against the law?’ She said, ‘No, it’s not,'” Carmichael said. “I checked with the revisor (of statutes) and it was not specifically against the law in Kansas.”
Getting away with sex on the job would be a lot harder for police officers now, because most stops are recorded on body cameras, said Rep. John Whitmer, R-Wichita, and also a member of the Judiciary Committee.
But he said it could happen and it’s good to have a law in place if it does.
“Most officers are great guys and women who are working hard, but there’s always the one,” he said.