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Bill Introduced to Fix California’s Rape Law

Bill Introduced to Fix California’s Rape Law January 15, 2013

In the aftermath of the appalling outcome of a rapist’s guilty verdict being overturned because the victim was not married, California legislators have submitted a bill to fix that loophole and ensure that rape is rape regardless of the marital status — or gender — of the victim.

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) has joined with a Republican lawmaker to introduce legislation that would close a legal loophole that led a state appeals court to overturn the rape conviction of a California man.

Citing a 19th century law, the Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled last week that a man who impersonates someone in order to have sexual intercourse may be guilty of rape only if the victim was married and the man was pretending to be her husband.

“This is an appalling failure of justice, and I am committed to acting swiftly to prevent a similar occurrence in the future,” Perez said in a statement. “Like every Californian, I was deeply disturbed by this decision, and my colleagues and I will work on eliminating this glaring loophole in state law and protect Californians from such a gross violation.”

The legislation, AB 65, would expand the definition of rape to include cases where a perpetrator impersonates a person’s boyfriend or girlfriend.

Incredibly, there was a bill in the last legislature to fix this problem as well but it never made it out of committee. I suspect with all the public attention to this travesty of justice recently, this time the bill will pass. I certainly hope so.

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