Gov. Brown Signs Law Closing Rape Loophole
SACRAMENTO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Monday a bill closing a legal loophole that allowed a rape conviction to be overturned because the woman was not married.
The bill, AB65, sponsored by Republican state Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian of San Luis Obispo, fixes a state law dating to the 1870s that said impersonating a person’s spouse to have sex was rape. The law now also includes impersonating a person’s cohabitant, boyfriend or girlfriend.
The revision was prompted by a 2009 case for which Julio Morales was sentenced to three years in state prison for impersonating a woman’s boyfriend in order to have sex with her. A panel of judges overturned the trial court’s conviction in January because under the arcane law she wasn’t protected — she wasn’t married and the man wasn’t pretending to be her husband.
Morales was accused of entering the woman’s bedroom late one night and initiating sexual intercourse while she was asleep after a night of drinking. The victim said her boyfriend was in the room when she fell asleep and they’d decided to not have sex because he didn’t have a condom and had to be somewhere early the next day.
Morales pretended to be her boyfriend in the darkened room, and it wasn’t until a ray of light from outside the room flashed across his face that she realized he wasn’t her boyfriend, according to prosecutors.
Another bill, AB157, sponsored by Democratic state Assemblywoman Nora Campos of San Jose, was also signed into law Monday. It expands restraining orders to include high-tech domestic abuse such as false impersonation or online identity theft.
Such abuse occurs when people take over victims’ online identities to humiliate or harass them, usually after a break up.
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