A New Jersey lawmaker has proposed a bill suggesting that rape by fraud should be considered a crime in the state of New Jersey. The bill says that if a person misleads another person by sharing false information on their status with the intention of luring them into bed, it should be condoned as rape by fraud.
The bill was created after the lawmaker heard of a woman who was deceived into paying her boyfriend $5,000 in a scam. The Florence, NJ women was led to believe her boyfriend, a serial scam artist, was a British military official. She filed charges against him, in which he was found guilty for defraud. Prosecutors involved with the case also attempted to charge the man with sexual assault by coercion with no result.
In the proposed bill, it challenges what constitutes as sexual assault, including fraud in the category. The bill is listed under the crime "sexual assault by fraud" with the description of "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 they are someone they are not."
What punishments are included for rape by fraud?
The bill recognizes rape by fraud as equivalent to the seriousness of other types of sexual assault with similar punishments. Depending on the particular circumstance, rape by fraud could be listed under a first degree crime with 10 to 20 years in prison or a second degree crime with possible 5 to 10 years in prison. Currently, Tennessee, California, Colorado, and Montana have a similar crime that recognize sex by fraud as a form of sexual assault.
While the punishment for sexual fraud has not been fully thought-out, judges, prosecutors, and jurors involved with reviewing a case can use discretion to determine the proper penalties for rape by fraud. Some who oppose the bill argue that the proposal is too broad and the bill will have trouble passing the amendment process.
One defense attorney in New Jersey brought up a solid point. He asked "What if a man were to say to a woman 'I love you' and engage in sex and he really didn't love her? It could be as simple as that," adding, "It doesn't put the citizens of the state on fair notice of what it is that constitutes the crime."
The New Jersey lawmaker who proposed the bill is steadfast in his belief of redefining what constitutes as rape. He stated, "I truly believe that we have to look at the issue of rape as more than sexual contact without consent," concluding, "Fraud invalidates any semblance of consent just as forcible sexual contact does."
To avoid abuse and consequences of the bill, the law maker claims he is open to redefining the bill in order to provide vital legal rights to specific cases involved with sexual assault by fraud.
To learn more about rape crimes, contact the Law Offices of Ryan E. Gilbert, LLC to speak to a Middlesex County criminal defense attorney.