Abbott to Crack Down on Sexual Assault, Human Trafficking

Texas Rangers to have purview over investigations

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott (Photo by John Anderson)

Following reports of sexual misconduct by Texas legislators and the growing #MeToo movement, Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled plans on Tuesday that would allow sexual assault claims against lawmakers, state elected officials, agency directors, and Capitol employees to be investigated by Texas Rangers. In revising sexual harassment policies late last year, lawmakers and advocates voiced concern over a lack of a neutral third party in the reporting process. By allowing these cases to be reported to the Rangers, Abbott says “the state can ensure claims are investigated by an impartial law enforcement body that is equipped to hold public servants accountable.”

As part of his package proposal, Abbott also calls for tougher enforcement of sex trafficking laws, including mandatory jail time for offenders; allowing those convicted of prostitution to clear their records if they were forced into the underlying crime; and a $22 million Department of Public Safety boost in order to create human trafficking squads and train law enforcement to recognize and stop trafficking. He’s additionally proposing $14 million to eliminate the backlog of rape kit testing, a troubling problem locally and statewide. Many of Abbott’s proposals require the Legislature’s approval.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Greg Abbott
Abbott to Trump: Pay Us Money We Lost for Excluding Planned Parenthood
Abbott to Trump: Pay Us Money We Lost for Excluding Planned Parenthood
Texas guv sends a "pretty please" to the president

Mary Tuma, Jan. 25, 2018

Greg Abbott's New Whiff
Greg Abbott's New Whiff
Governor says some nice things about Austin, for once

Chase Hoffberger, Nov. 1, 2017

More sexual assault
APD Touts Progress on Rape Kit Backlog
APD Touts Progress on Rape Kit Backlog
Police update community on what’s been done and what comes next

Sarah Marloff, Feb. 22, 2019

UPDATED: Council Calls for Independent Audit of APD's Rape Cases
UPDATED: Council Calls for Independent Audit of APD's Rape Cases
CM Alison Alter says this is the "next step, not the end of the journey"

Sarah Marloff, Feb. 6, 2019

More by Mary Tuma
Rep. Jeff Leach Plays Both Sides With Abortion Ban Bill
Rep. Jeff Leach Plays Both Sides With Abortion Ban Bill

April 19, 2019

Ken Paxton Puts the Brakes on Federal Inquiry Into Debunked Voter Fraud Claims
Ken Paxton Puts the Brakes on Federal Inquiry Into Debunked Voter Fraud Claims
A.G. tells Congress to wait in line

April 19, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

sexual assault, Greg Abbott, sexual assualt

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle