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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-04-13

CA Rape Conviction Overturned Because Victim was Unmarried

On Wednesday, the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles, CA overturned the rape conviction of a man who impersonated a woman's boyfriend in order to have sex with her because the woman was not married.

The district appeals court found that a law from 1827 that criminalized impersonation of a woman's husband in order have intercourse did not extend to this case because the law did not include protections for women who were not married. "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," the court stated. In its ruling, the district appeals court also called on the state legislature to fix the outdated legislation.

The case featured a woman who went to her home with her boyfriend and his friends after a party. After she fell asleep, her boyfriend left and a friend who had also attended the party entered the woman's room and began to have sex with her. When she realized the man was not her boyfriend, she began to yell and her attacker left. She called her boyfriend who summoned the police. The attacker in question was convicted and served three years in prison.

Media Resources: NBC News 1/4/2013; Los Angeles Times 1/3/2013; USA Today 1/3/2013


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