1. California official urges law to stop rape by impersonators
California official urges law to stop rape by impersonators
By Brandon Lowrey
LOS ANGELES | Fri Jan 4, 2013 9:40pm EST
(Reuters) - California's attorney general on Friday called on lawmakers to update the state's definition of sexual assault after appellate judges overturned a rape conviction on grounds that an obscure, 19th-century law fails to protect unmarried women when a rapist impersonates a lover.
The 1872 statute makes it a crime for a man to have sex with a woman while posing as her husband. But it does not address the case of an impostor who poses as a woman's boyfriend, which was key to the overturned conviction because the woman in that case was unmarried.
"The evidence is clear that this case involved a non consensual assault that fits within the general understanding of what constitutes rape," Kamala Harris, the state's Democratic attorney general, said in a statement. "This law is arcane, and I will work with the Legislature to fix it."
One state lawmaker said on Friday he planned to introduce legislation to change the statute. Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, a Republican, said in a statement that closing the loophole in the rape law would be his "top legislative priority."