California Governor Jerry Brown signed three bills yesterday related to rape and domestic violence.
The first bill, AB 65, closes a loophole in California rape law by clarifying that someone who impersonates another person in order to coerce someone into sexual activity can be prosecuted for rape. The bill is in response to a recent Los Angeles County Court of Appeals decision to overturn a conviction for a man who raped a young woman, who at first thought the man was her boyfriend. According to the Los Angeles Times, when overturning the conviction, the court cited a 19th-century law that limited rape charges to cases in which only married women were tricked by impersonators. The “bill would instead provide that these types of rape and sodomy occur where the person submits under the belief that the person committing the act is someone known to the victim other than the accused.”
Assemblywoman and chairwoman of the Legislative Women’s Caucus Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) said in a press release, “Every victim deserves justice, regardless of their relationship status.”
Brown also signed AB 157, which will make false impersonation on the internet a criminal act of domestic violence, and AB 161, which will allow courts to ban domestic abusers from changing any insurance policies shared with their partners.
AB 65 will go into effect immediately, and the other two will go into effect on July 1, 2014.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 9/9/2013; RH Reality Check 1/4/2013; Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal Press Release 9/9/2013; California Legislative Information