Bill seeks tougher penalties for assaults on disabled

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation to toughen penalties on those who intentionally injure people with physical or intellectual disabilities.

Under House Bill 2056, “serious bodily injury” would not be necessary for charges to be elevated beyond misdemeanor simple assault to felony aggravated assault.

Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana) said the need for his proposal, known as Cody’s Law, was made clear after a western Pennsylvania man who lives with William’s Syndrome was lured to a recreational trail in August then beaten without provocation by four people.

“While those responsible were arrested, they were only charged with misdemeanors due to the determined lack of serious bodily injury,” Struzzi said in a statement. “I believe individuals who target vulnerable and helpless victims pose a significant threat to our society and should be subject to harsher penalties under the law.”

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