Sen. Bailey introduces bill to update Maine’s sexual assault statutes, protect Mainers from sexual violence

Posted: April 25, 2023 | Senator Bailey

AUGUSTA — On Monday, Sen. Donna Bailey, D-Saco, introduced legislation to update Maine’s sexual assault statutes and better protect Mainers from sexual violence. LD 1657, “An Act to Amend the Law Governing Certain Sexual Offenses,” was the subject of a public hearing before the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.

“Statutory definitions can help establish and affirm social norms,” said Sen. Bailey. “These definitions can also support public messaging and education. Effective legal and social frameworks for defining and understanding consent are essential for a healthy society that broadly rejects sexual violence in all its forms. I want to thank the sexual assault advocacy groups, prosecutors and law enforcement officers who collaborated on this bill.”

LD 1657 would change the term “expressly or impliedly acquiesced” to “consent” in Maine’s sexual assault statutes. It would also define consent as “a word or action by a person that indicates a freely given agreement.”

“The word ‘consent’ is a word that throughout our community has accepted as a common term,” said Charles Rumsey of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, speaking in favor of the bill. “So, when our law enforcement officers arrive to a scene and begin investigating the crime, they aren’t asking the survivor if they ‘acquiesced’ because that word is often foreign to them. Instead, the officers are asking if there was consent given. [The bill’s] important change would align the conversations that we are having with sexual assault survivors in the field with the standard that needs to be proved to charge and convict the offender.”

One in five Maine adults has reported that they’ve been the victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault at some point in their lives. Nationally, the CDC reports that more than 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 4 men have experienced sexual violence. The majority of sexual assault victims knew their attackers. The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault has a list of both state and national resources at

The bill faces further action in committee.