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Rape Loophole Closed by Governor

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to close an old rape loophole.

Back in the late 1800s, a victim of rape by impersonation had to be raped by someone impersonating her husband to prosecute. This bill will protect rape victims regardless of marital status.

Attorney Joyce E. Dudley spearheaded the legislation when she was trying to prosecute a case involving a rape survivor who initially thought her boyfriend had climbed into her bed. Brown signed Assembly Bill 65, by Assembly members Katcho Achadjian (San Luis Obispo) and Bonnie Lowenthal (Long Beach) a couple of weeks after it won unanimous approval in both houses of the Legislature.

The bill will bring parity to statutes relating to rape by clarifying that an attacker who coerces a victim into sexual activity by impersonating somebody else can be prosecuted for felony rape.

Dudley said, “I am grateful to Governor Brown, Assembly Member Achadjian, and the entire California Legislature for coming together to close this loophole. I am extremely thankful for the unflinching efforts of Assembly Member Achadjian to ensure this bill would pass. While nothing can undo what was done to her, I have let Courtney know that her story inspired the Legislature to act, and that because of her bravery, we will be able to deliver justice to victims in the future.”

“Today’s action by the Governor concludes a nearly three-year effort to close this outdated and unconscionable loophole that has denied victims the justice that they deserve. While Assembly Bill 65 cannot undo what was done to the victims in the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles county cases, it is my hope that knowing that future victims will be protected will bring them a small amount of comfort, I am especially grateful to Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley whose persistence on this issue was crucial to getting this measure approved,” Achadjian said.

An earlier version of the bill was inspired by a Santa Barbara rape case that happened when the accused broke into the home of a female victim who had been sleeping. The perpetrator instigated sex with the victim who initially thought he was her boyfriend. When the suspect was caught, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney could not prosecute him for felony rape simply due to the fact that the victim lived with her boyfriend rather than with her husband. A recent Court of Appeals overturned a rape conviction in a similar Los Angeles County case. The court stated that the young victim had not been raped because she was unmarried and the attacker had impersonated her boyfriend rather than her husband. For complete text of the bill please visit:

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