Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill to close loophole in rape law

Gov. Jerry Brown, center, pictured at a recent news conference with legislative leaders. On Monday, he signed a bill to close a loophole in California's rape law.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation that closes a loophole in California’s rape law by clarifying that an attacker who impersonates someone else to coerce a victim into sexual activity can be prosecuted.

The bill was in response to a recent State Court of Appeals decision that overturned a rape conviction of a Los Angeles County man in which the court said a victim had not been raped because she was unmarried and the attacker had impersonated her boyfriend.

The court cited a 19th century law in overturning the rape conviction of a man who entered a dark bedroom where a woman was sleeping and had sex with her.

The 18-year-old woman said she initially thought the man was her boyfriend, who had departed earlier.

She eventually resisted the attack when she realized the man was not her boyfriend.


“Today’s action by the governor concludes a nearly three-year effort to close this outdated and unconscionable loophole that has denied victims the justice that they deserve,” said Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo), who co-authored the bill with Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).

Supporters of AB 65 included Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, and the California District Attorneys Assn.

“Every victim deserves justice, regardless of their relationship status,” said Lowenthal, chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.


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