VOTE: Should there be a law making ‘rape by fraud’ a crime?
Is misrepresenting yourself to someone with whom you’ve had sex – or about to have sex - a crime?
It would be if a bill introduced by Burlington Assemblyman Troy Singleton becomes law.
Right now the bill, (A3908), is being considered that would make misrepresenting yourself to a paramour a crime of either the first degree or second degree depending on “the circumstances surrounding the act.”
For example, if you claim to inherit a large sum of money in order to have sex with someone, only to be in truth an ordinarily schlub, you have violated that person – and therefore could be prosecuted as though it were a crime of violent rape.
Assemblyman Singleton decided to introduce the bill after speaking to Florence resident Mischele Lewis, who had been duped into paying $5,000 to her boyfriend, Cherry Hill resident William Allen Jordan, for what he claimed was a security clearance.
So far, so good!
Prosecutors tried to charge Jordan with sexual assault by coercion, but that didn’t fly with a grand jury.
I truly believe that we have to look at the issue of rape as more than sexual contact without consent.” “Fraud invalidates any semblance of consent just as forcible sexual contact does. This legislation is designed to provide our state's judiciary with another tool to assess situations where this occurs and potentially provide a legal remedy to those circumstances.
The bill as written is too broad and could have unintended consequences. The “what ifs” abound – and could engender any number of circumstances.
However, questions like these don’t mitigate the feeling of being violated that some women (and men) feel.
But I still can’t get it out of my head that anytime you agree to have sex with someone – you’re willingly giving consent. The bill leaves out the element of “common sense” – more or less along the same lines as someone who puts up a profile on any of the many dating sites, and misrepresents themselves.
How many times have that happened?
I guess, in the final analysis, the question, "were you forced against your will to have sex?" should be the determining factor as to whether or not this bill holds any water.
Should we treat prosecuting those who “scam sex” out of someone as though they were scamming them out of money?