SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A young woman was raped and the man who did it was found guilty, but that conviction was recently overturned by a state appeals court because of an old law.
A California law currently on the books doesn’t protect all rape victims. But a district attorney is pushing to reverse that antiquated rape law. The law is about 140 years old, and tomorrow Santa Barbara County D.A. Joyce Dudley will make the case before the lawmakers to explain why it must be changed.
“It’s impossible to believe in this day and age that marital status affects the decision about whether somebody was raped. It’s unconscionable,” said Dudley.
Dudley says as it stands right now not all rape victims are protected under the law.
“She was raped by the rapist and then she was essentially raped by the criminal justice system,” said Dudley.
She’s talking about a California appeals court ruling that overturned a rape conviction of a man who pretended to be a sleeping woman’s boyfriend. Had the woman been married and the man impersonated her husband, it would have been rape. But the law doesn’t protect unmarried women where a rapist is pretending to be the victim’s boyfriend.
“I’m appalled that somebody pretending to be somebody else, and having sex with somebody, would ever not be considered rape,” said WEAVE Executive Director Beth Hassett.
Hassett with says this only re-victimizes victims.
“It’s unbelievable to me that we’re not holding a perpetrator accountable for such a thing because of some ridiculous wacky law that needs to be changed,” said Hassett.
As a result, Dudley helped write a bill that would change this legal loophole and make sure all rape victims have equal protection.
“That they take this arcane law and they throw it out and they put the reasonable law on the books which is impersonating anybody,” said Dudley.
Dudley will be talking in front of an assembly committee tomorrow. The bill will have to pass the assembly and then move to the senate.
Dudley believes lawmakers will decide to pass the bill.