Categories: Howrylak News,News 07Sep Rep. Howrylak plan protects vulnerable adults from acts of coercion A proposal introduced Thursday by state Rep. Martin Howrylak provides penalties for an individual who attempts to extract sexually explicit visual material from vulnerable adults, including seniors and the mentally or physically disabled.The dangerous trend has become more common with technological advancements such as smart phones and social media. According to the Justice Department, people with intellectual disabilities are victims of some of the highest rates of sexual assault with a rate seven times that of people without disabilities.The idea for this legislation comes from a local resident to whom this nightmare scenario occurred, Howrylak said. The young woman was preyed upon and her vulnerable status was used to the perpetrator’s advantage. Unbeknownst to her parents, the young woman fearfully complied with these requests as this “bad man,” in the young woman’s terms, barraged her with coercive commands.” Because no current Michigan law covers this situation, the suspect was sentenced to less than a week in jail for his actions at the city level.“It’s the role of state government to ensure that the public is protected,” said Howrylak, of Troy. “My bill is very simple – it cracks down on the act of coercing, persuading or outright blackmailing someone who is vulnerable into providing them with explicit material. We’ve seen a spike in this disturbing activity with the rise in technology and Michigan should be on the forefront of deterring it.”If passed, House Bill 6347 would protect vulnerable adults from anyone who may request, persuade, convince, threaten, command, force, or coerce them into providing sexually explicit visual material. A violation of this would result in a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. HB 6347 has been referred to the House Law and Justice Committee for consideration.