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Court Throws Out Rape Case Because Victim Is Unmarried

Court Throws Out Rape Case Because Victim Is Unmarried

Written by Rachel Kassenbrock

A Los Angeles-based state appeals court just overturned a rape conviction because a woman who was raped in her sleep by a man impersonating her boyfriend is unmarried. The victim, who at first thought the man was her boyfriend, tried to stop him once she regained consciousness enough to realize he was an imposter. However, because the woman and her boyfriend are not a married couple, her rapist will walk away without penalty: The court said that its decision is based on a California law stating that tricking a victim into sex by impersonation only counts as rape if the victim is married. The three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeals wrote:

A man enters the dark bedroom of an unmarried woman after seeing her boyfriend leave late at night, and has sexual intercourse with the woman while pretending to be the boyfriend. Has the man committed rape? Because of historical anomalies in the law and the statutory definition of rape, the answer is no, even though, if the woman had been married and the man had impersonated her husband, the answer would be yes.

This ruling means that in California, rapists who attack unmarried men or women by impersonating their significant others are protected under state law. This horrifying concept is made even more infuriating when you consider how this affects gay men and women in the state, who are not allowed to marry.

The justices explained that prosecutors in this particular case employed two legal theories, the first being that the man tricked the woman into having sex with him (which only applies to married women), and the other arguing that under state law, sex with an unconscious person is always defined as rape. The court recommends the prosecutors utilize the latter theory if the case is retried.

Regardless of how the case is tried later, the fact that this man committed rape and is free to do so again because of a legal loophole is unacceptable. This disturbing series of events exemplifies yet again the serious lack of protection and justice this country provides to rape victims.

This post was originally published by Ms. Magazine.


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6:29PM PDT on Aug 23, 2014

This is beyond outrageous.

4:58PM PDT on May 21, 2013

WTF! This is insane!

9:41AM PDT on May 1, 2013

this is insane. you have to be married to get justice. Change these outdated laws!

8:42AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

Change the law! This is crazy.

8:14PM PDT on Apr 24, 2013

"The Law is an ass".
But no doubt, if the rapist was tried and convicted, and given a suitable sentence, (castration with a blunt knife, and 20 years behind bars to think about it, perhaps?) the bleeding heart lefties would be crying out about HIS rights!

3:43PM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

I feel as though I have just stumbled into the twilight zone. RAPE is RAPE. It is irrelevant how the rape occurs!!!!!!!!!!!!! How can their even be an existing law which makes an exception for any sort of rape scenario? This is despicable. Additionally, isn't impersonating an individual a crime making the actions of the man even more not less illegal?

10:47PM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Legislators picking up tips from the Taliban again! Totally ridiculous. Rape is rape, be the victim married, unmarried...even a partner in marriage using force against the other partner's rape.

1:58PM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

That is the law and the court is correct. Israel had a case like that is a case of fraud. Too bad the US states do not penalize fraud in romantic relationships. Shakespeare has too much influence.

4:10AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

Nobody should be excluded from the protection under justice

10:54AM PDT on Mar 10, 2013


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