In Hollywood, pretending to be a woman’s boyfriend or husband in order to fool her into sleeping with you is a supreme romantic gesture. We have seen it in a whole bunch of movies, "Revenge of the Nerds" and "While You Were Sleeping" most famously. Of course, in the movies the woman, after getting over her initial surprise, is always delighted by this unexpected gesture of love.
But did you know that in real life, there is a word for this supposed demonstration of affection: rape.
To be more specific, the term is “rape by impersonation,” and it is a serious crime in several states, one that California just made even more serious by passing a law that closes an archaic loophole in its 140-year-old “rape by impersonation” statute.
Last week, the California state assembly unanimously approved the bill, AB65, which expands the definition of rape by impersonation in that state to cover unmarried women.
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The state senate added its unanimous vote yesterday. The law is now headed to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown for final approval.
The new bill is a response to a case in January of this year in which Julio Morales snuck into the darkened bedroom of a sleeping woman whose boyfriend had just left. Morales then had sex with her. When she realized that Morales was not her boyfriend, the woman — whose identity has not been made public — stopped the act and pushed him off.
Morales was convicted of rape, but an appeals court threw out the verdict because California’s law covered only rapists who impersonate the husband of a marred woman to gain sexual access.
Under AB65, the law now defines unmarried women as rape victims when they fall prey to sexual impersonators.
In 2011, Idaho also amended its law to cover unmarried women after a case in which a woman’s boyfriend tricked her into having sex with another man by allowing the other man to impersonate him. Charges were dismissed in that 2010 case as well.
SOURCES: Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Examiner, Business Insider, Associated Press (2)