- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - In a push to combat campus sexual assault, the Texas Legislature is moving to pardon victims from criminal charges for underage drinking.

A bill passed unanimously Wednesday by the state Senate protects from prosecution victims of sexual assault who admit to underage drinking while they were being abused.

The victim must report the crime to a health professional, administrator, or to law enforcement for immunity. The bill now heads to the Texas House.

It’s one of several by Austin Democratic Sen. Kirk Watson designed to increase campus sexual assault reporting rates. Another excuses victims and witnesses from being punished for underage drinking, and other violations, under university codes of conduct.

The effort follows a Baylor University scandal where many female students sued, saying they were bullied into keeping rapes secret.

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