Home Government Proposed ‘Rape by Fraud’ Law Would Punish Those Who Lie Before Sex

Proposed ‘Rape by Fraud’ Law Would Punish Those Who Lie Before Sex

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Gavel (Credit: Brian Turner/Flickr)
Gavel (Credit: Brian Turner/Flickr)

The act of talking up one’s bank account, fancy car or speedboat is an age-old tactic in the art of seduction. But if the bank account is empty, the car is a clunker and the speedboat doesn’t exist, the punishment in New Jersey could be much more serious than dealing with an angry ex-lover.

A so-called “rape by fraud” bill has been proposed by a Burlington County lawmaker that would make it a crime to lie in order to convince another person to have sex. The bill would define the crime – which would carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison – as “an act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not.”

“I truly believe that we have to look at the issue of rape as more than sexual contact without consent,” Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), told the Star-Ledger, because in his view, fraud invalidates the consent to begin with.

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The crime could be considered a first or second degree indictable offense – New Jersey’s version of a felony – and carry prison terms of 5 to 10 years or 10 to 20 years depending on the degree. Singleton, in the Star-Ledger article, said judges should have discretion when handing down a sentence given the facts of each case.

To become law, the bill would need to clear committees in both the state Assembly and Senate, then be signed by Gov. Chris Christie. In the event the bill did become law, it would face likely face constitutional challenges as the idea of such a law is commonly rejected by legal scholars.

More on the law can be found in the Star-Ledger’s report.