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Crime

Kansas makes it illegal for police to have sex with people at traffic stops – but it’s still legal in 32 other states

The state had banned sex with people who were in jail, but not with those who were merely in custody – leaving people open to abuse

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 1:11am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 1:59am

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?

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Kansas was one of 33 states where consensual sex between police and people in their custody wasn’t a crime.

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
Rep. John Carmichael

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, a Democrat from Olathe, introduced the bill.

She said it spun off the case of Lamonte Murray, a man from Kansas City, Kansas, man who spent 23 years in prison for a double murder he didn’t commit. He was finally released last year.

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.

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“This helps the person who was detained in their neighbourhood 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.

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Rep. John Whitmer

“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, a Wichita Democrat, lawyer 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 reviser [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, a Wichita Republican who is also a member of the Judiciary Committee.

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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.