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Pennsylvania creates criminal offense of sexual extortion

The Associated Press
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks to reporters during a news conference on his signing an executive order for his administration to start working on regulations to bring Pennsylvania into a nine-state consortium that sets a price and limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 in Harrisburg, Pa. The move is part of Wolf's effort to fight climate change in the nation's fourth-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania is creating the criminal offense of sexual extortion to help combat what authorities say is a growing crime targeting children.

The legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Tom Wolf takes effect in two months.

The law makes it a third-degree felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison, if the victim is under 18 or the perpetrator has shown a pattern of engaging in sexual extortion.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tedd Nesbit of Mercer County, says Pennsylvania law didn’t adequately cover the crime and the legislation helps Pennsylvania keep pace in a digital age that facilitates sexual extortion.

The law defines sexual extortion as using a threat of some type of coerce a victim into a sex act, simulating a sex act, undressing or making a video or image of it.