Bill passed in Oregon house would increase punishment for student sexual abuse

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Oregon’s House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Monday that would alter a state law that lets teachers off with lighter penalties than coaches for sexually abusing students.

SB 649, also known as “Bailey’s Bill”, is named after Bailey Munck, a student at Weston-McEwen High School in Athena.

In 2019, she was sexually abused by her English teacher after a state playoff volleyball game in Coquille, where he was a scorekeeper for the team.

“I am proud to have gotten this important legislation across the finish line, but the true champion is Bailey,” said Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena), the author of the legislation. “Her courageous voice and strong advocacy made it possible. Thank you to my colleagues in the House for passing this important bill.”

After pleading guilty to sexual harassment and touching, Bailey’s abuser spent only 2 days in jail and 5 years of probation, and did not have to register as a sex offender.

If he had been Bailey’s coach, he would have been convicted of a Class C felony and received up to 5 years in jail, as well as a $125,000 fine.

Because he was Bailey’s teacher, his sentence was not as severe.

SB 649 would put teachers on the same level as coaches for penalties of crimes of sexual abuse in the second degree.

Representative Bobby Levy (R-Echo) carried the bill on the House floor.

“Bailey’s advocacy will give other girls access to justice that she did not have access to,” Representative Levy said. “It’s been an honor to work with her to pass this bill in the Legislature. It will make our communities a little bit safer for young Oregonians. That is something I am extremely proud of.”

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