New NC bill would update sexual assault laws prompted by Charlotte woman’s experience

New NC bill would update sexual assault laws prompted by Charlotte woman’s experience

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In North Carolina, a new bill would make laws involving sexual assault clearer, and account for more situations. It’s inspired by a young woman in Charlotte, and her experience.

Leah McGuirk came forward in 2018, after she said her drink was drugged at an Uptown bar.

She discovered in North Carolina, there’s no clear law against drugging someone’s drink.

“It should be common sense that it would be a felony to drug someone without their consent,” she told WBTV Wednesday.

This creates one of the loopholes when it comes to sexual assault laws that McGuirk discovered in the last year. She now wants to close them, and has a team of non-partisan state lawmakers in Raleigh alongside her.

“Right now, we have a statute that makes drugging or adding some sort of foreign substance to someone’s food illegal,” Rep. Chaz Beasley said Wednesday. “And this expands that to make sure that drinks are also included.”

“This” is the newly introduced House Bill 393.

In addition to drink tampering, it also holds sexual assailants accountable for taking advantage of people already impaired.

“I feel like it’s helping a larger dialog in our state and hopefully in our nation as well,” McGuirk said.

The bill also protects children, more clearly defining what a “caretaker” is, to include someone who is dating a child’s parent. That way, if that person abuses the child, the state could step in.

Lawmakers also want to change phrasing within these sexual assault laws, altering “forcible” rape and “forcible” assault to “rape” and “assault.”

They say this could make language used in the justice system more consistent with today’s world.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.