Monday, January 5, 2013
Attorney General, Assemblyman Respond to Court Ruling on Rape
‘Outraged’ GOP Lawmaker Says He Will Reintroduce Bill to ‘Close Loopholes,’ Protect Victims
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The state’s Democratic attorney general and a Republican lawmaker Friday both said they would back legislation in response to a Court of Appeal ruling last week that limited prosecutors’ ability to convict a defendant of rape by impersonation.
Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo cited a ruling by this district’s Court of Appeal that a man who obtains a woman’s consent to sex by impersonating her boyfriend cannot be found guilty of rape.
In People v. Morales, the panel held that due to “historical anomalies in the law and the statutory definition of rape,” sexual intercourse by impersonation is rape only when the victim is married and the perpetrator impersonates the victim’s spouse.
Achadjian, who last year introduced Assembly Bill 765 in response to a similar case in Santa Barbara County, said he will reintroduce legislation to expand the definition of rape to include cases where a perpetrator deceives a victim into sexual activity by impersonating the person’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
“Californians are justifiably outraged by this court ruling, and it is important that the Legislature join together to close whatever loopholes may exist in the law and uphold justice for rape victims,” Achadjian said in the release.
In the Santa Barbara case, the defendant was accused of breaking into a woman’s home and instigating sex with her while she was asleep in her bedroom. At first, the victim assumed that the attacker was her live-in boyfriend. When she realized her mistake, she testified, she resisted and her attacker fled.
Frustrated with her inability to prosecute that attacker for felony rape, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley turned to Achadjian for help, the lawmaker said. The measure won unanimous State Assembly approval, but was held in the Senate Public Safety Committee.
Dudley is quoted in Achadjian’s release:
“Californians know that rape is rape, regardless of who the perpetrator is. It is imperative that we now change the law to prevent a grave injustice for future rape victims.”
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said in her own statement:
“The evidence is clear that this case involved a nonconsensual assault that fits within the general understanding of what constitutes rape. This law is arcane and I will work with the Legislature to fix it.”
Copyright 2013, Metropolitan News Company