Sex by surprise

It is being reported that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged in Sweden with rape.  Actually, that most tolerant of nations is charging him with having sex without a condom.  Under certain conditions, apparently, that is a crime in that country.  So says this report:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing arrest for violating a Swedish law about sex without condoms, rather than a mainstream interpretation of “rape.” Yet that’s the charge reports often levy against him. Behold the smear campaign.

The New York Times wrote about the case on Thursday, noting that Swedish authorities were hunting Assange on charges of “rape, sexual molestation, and unlawful coercion.” It commented on the alleged offense, stating claims by two women that “each had consensual sexual encounters with Mr. Assange that became nonconsensual.”

The Swedish charges aren’t exactly new, though. Some of the media had reported “rape” allegations back in August, and the Daily Mail even asserted the first alleged illegal act occurred when a condom broke, and the woman concerned “whatever her views about the incident,” then “appeared relaxed and untroubled at the seminar the next day.” At this seminar, Assange met the second alleged victim and “a source close to the investigation said the woman had insisted he wear a condom, but the following morning he made love to her without one.”

Assange has questioned the “veracity” of the two women’s statements, as the Times report notes. Assange’s former lawyer yesterday “confirmed” the charges were to do with sexual misconduct concerning sex without condoms. Assange’s current lawyer then revealed Swedish prosectors had told him they were not seeking Assange for “rape” at all, instead the alleged crime is “sex by surprise,” which carries a penalty of a fine, although the details of the allegations haven’t been revealed yet.

Thanks to Webmonk for pointing this out. The cosmopolitan Australian is not being prosecuted for publishing classified documents or endangering American security, though the soldier who gave him the documents might be. At any rate, what intrigues me here is Swedish law. Does a country extradite someone for a misdemeanor? Or in Sweden’s legal system is this new crime of “sex by surprise” a felony, but a felony punishable only by a fine? This all seems exceedingly strange.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering

    “… Swedish prosecutor just fell to last place on the list of enviable jobs.” – from “STDs, Broken Condoms and ‘Sex By Surprise’: A Primer on the Charges Against Assange”

  • Tom Hering

    “… Swedish prosecutor just fell to last place on the list of enviable jobs.” – from “STDs, Broken Condoms and ‘Sex By Surprise’: A Primer on the Charges Against Assange”

  • Booklover

    TMI

  • Booklover

    TMI

  • Carl Vehse

    Just as DHS/TSA have descended to sexually groping children, Interpol can now congradulate itself on becoming the sex police and participating in enforcing the condom laws of Sweden.

    It’s comforting to know that kakistocracy is not just limited to the White House.

  • Carl Vehse

    Just as DHS/TSA have descended to sexually groping children, Interpol can now congradulate itself on becoming the sex police and participating in enforcing the condom laws of Sweden.

    It’s comforting to know that kakistocracy is not just limited to the White House.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    The article in Der Spiegel gives some of this bizarre background:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,733154,00.html

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    The article in Der Spiegel gives some of this bizarre background:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,733154,00.html

  • WebMonk

    From the article Tom mentioned.

    “A fourth charge, relating to a Miss W, alleged that on 17 August, he “improperly exploited” the fact she was asleep to have sex with her without a condom.”

    Can I go straight to the gutter and suggest that his … abilities might be, um, less than stellar, if she was sleeping through his, erm, ministrations?

    Pulling up out of the gutter, I was surprised to pick up some of the details of Swedish law when I was looking into the topic. As far as I can tell, ex post facto laws are legal, though requiring special handling. That doesn’t seem to be coming up in this situation, but it was still interesting.

    I have some sympathy for the claim that this is a politicized prosecution, since there is apparently nowhere near this sort of reaction for other people who are charged under similar Swedish laws. On the other hand, whether it has been turned into a politically motivated media circus or not, he still needs to be tried.

    But, if he is tried, I doubt much will come of the sexual molestation charges. Possible the “sex by surprise” rape charge, but we’ll see. From what I can gather, the allegations are a bit shaky as far as what is needed to get a conviction.

    One thing I haven’t been able to find, and if anyone knows of a link I would appreciate it, are the official charges (not as reported by his lawyer) and their possible penalties.

  • WebMonk

    From the article Tom mentioned.

    “A fourth charge, relating to a Miss W, alleged that on 17 August, he “improperly exploited” the fact she was asleep to have sex with her without a condom.”

    Can I go straight to the gutter and suggest that his … abilities might be, um, less than stellar, if she was sleeping through his, erm, ministrations?

    Pulling up out of the gutter, I was surprised to pick up some of the details of Swedish law when I was looking into the topic. As far as I can tell, ex post facto laws are legal, though requiring special handling. That doesn’t seem to be coming up in this situation, but it was still interesting.

    I have some sympathy for the claim that this is a politicized prosecution, since there is apparently nowhere near this sort of reaction for other people who are charged under similar Swedish laws. On the other hand, whether it has been turned into a politically motivated media circus or not, he still needs to be tried.

    But, if he is tried, I doubt much will come of the sexual molestation charges. Possible the “sex by surprise” rape charge, but we’ll see. From what I can gather, the allegations are a bit shaky as far as what is needed to get a conviction.

    One thing I haven’t been able to find, and if anyone knows of a link I would appreciate it, are the official charges (not as reported by his lawyer) and their possible penalties.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    So this will boil down to his testimony, vs the testimony of two women who compared notes and found out that they each had sex with him on adjacent nights….

    Would it be right to convict someone on that sort of evidence?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    So this will boil down to his testimony, vs the testimony of two women who compared notes and found out that they each had sex with him on adjacent nights….

    Would it be right to convict someone on that sort of evidence?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    So I wonder what the Swedish U.S. Extradition laws are compared to those of Britain or Australia?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    So I wonder what the Swedish U.S. Extradition laws are compared to those of Britain or Australia?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    fws,
    In my book, no. But then the law is the law, and you know what a pain that is.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    fws,
    In my book, no. But then the law is the law, and you know what a pain that is.

  • Tom Hering

    The Swedes will only extradite if the accused calls them “Swiss.”

  • Tom Hering

    The Swedes will only extradite if the accused calls them “Swiss.”

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    “Be sure your sin will find you out…”

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    “Be sure your sin will find you out…”

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    J dean @ 10

    Yes. it is pretty low to confuse a swede with a swiss.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    J dean @ 10

    Yes. it is pretty low to confuse a swede with a swiss.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws
  • http://www.thirduse.com fws
  • Tom Hering

    WebMonk, Miss W must have awakened at some point, to become aware her guest’s condomless condition. Regardless, I’m saddened to find that a broken condom is not included in the charges, as first reported. Because the possibility for jokes about WikiLeaks is gone. Oh well. :-(

  • Tom Hering

    WebMonk, Miss W must have awakened at some point, to become aware her guest’s condomless condition. Regardless, I’m saddened to find that a broken condom is not included in the charges, as first reported. Because the possibility for jokes about WikiLeaks is gone. Oh well. :-(

  • S Bauer

    “Don’t you step on my blue swiss shoes!”

  • S Bauer

    “Don’t you step on my blue swiss shoes!”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    In other news, Tom books travel to Austria because he always wanted to see Kangaroos and koala bears…

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    In other news, Tom books travel to Austria because he always wanted to see Kangaroos and koala bears…

  • Tom Hering

    Well, where else would you go to see them? Duh.

  • Tom Hering

    Well, where else would you go to see them? Duh.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Um, how about staying out of people’s bedrooms?

    This article is just too much information.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Um, how about staying out of people’s bedrooms?

    This article is just too much information.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    From the Daily Mail article

    “Though heavily redacted, with details of the sex allegations blacked out, they make uncomfortable reading.
    Assange had flown into Stockholm on Wednesday, August 11, where several of the WikiLeaks internet servers are based, to speak at a seminar organised by the Social Demoratic Party, …
    Woman A, who works for the Christian branch of the party, was the main organiser but they had never met before.
    The attractive twentysomething, described by friends as hardworking and fun-loving, offered to let him stay in her one-bedroom flat in Sodermalm, Stockholm. …
    According to a police source: ‘They had a discussion and decided it would be OK to share the living space, then went out together for dinner.
    ‘When they got back they had sexual relations, but there was a problem with the condom – it had split.”

    My reaction:

    Why heavily redacted?

    She sounds like she was after him.

    Christian?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    From the Daily Mail article

    “Though heavily redacted, with details of the sex allegations blacked out, they make uncomfortable reading.
    Assange had flown into Stockholm on Wednesday, August 11, where several of the WikiLeaks internet servers are based, to speak at a seminar organised by the Social Demoratic Party, …
    Woman A, who works for the Christian branch of the party, was the main organiser but they had never met before.
    The attractive twentysomething, described by friends as hardworking and fun-loving, offered to let him stay in her one-bedroom flat in Sodermalm, Stockholm. …
    According to a police source: ‘They had a discussion and decided it would be OK to share the living space, then went out together for dinner.
    ‘When they got back they had sexual relations, but there was a problem with the condom – it had split.”

    My reaction:

    Why heavily redacted?

    She sounds like she was after him.

    Christian?


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