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Politics & Government

Senate Bill Targets Secrecy Deals In Sex Misconduct Claims

Carolyn Kaster

A Democratic state senator is introducing legislation to bar non-disclosure agreements in Pennsylvania from attempting to stop people from reporting claims of sexual misconduct.

The bill introduced Wednesday by Berks County Sen. Judith Schwank would also prohibit Pennsylvania courts from enforcing such agreements in civil lawsuits over sexual misconduct allegations.

It would void pre-existing agreements when a party to it entered it while under duress, impaired or a minor.

Senate Democrats say they aren't aware of any Pennsylvania law that bars non-disclosure agreements from suppressing information about a potential crime. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape says non-disclosure agreements may suppress information that isn't necessarily a crime.

Similar bills are on the move in several other states as revelations of sexual misconduct are rocking politics, Hollywood, media and business.