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Rape Law Change Sent to Governor’s Desk

Lawmakers have sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill intended to close a loophole in state law that resulted in a rape conviction being overturned because the victim was not married.

The bill, SB59, was given final approval Monday by the Senate. A spokeswoman in the Governor’s Office tells NewsChannel 3 Gov. Brown is still considering the legislation and a date for signing the bill has not been determined.

The legislation follows a January ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeal. In that case, the court reversed the conviction of a man who was found guilty of impersonating a woman’s boyfriend so he could have sex with her while she was asleep.

The judges ruled that a state law dating to the 1870s applies to assailants only if the female victim is married and the man is pretending to be her spouse.

Democratic Sen. Noreen Evans of Santa Rosa says SB59 narrows the state’s rape definition so more victims will be protected. The Senate approved the measure 37-0.

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