For anyone who ever wanted to press charges against a lying ex, listen up!
In New Jersey, there’s currently a bill under construction that could potentially go after those no-good snakes and charge them with something called “sexual assault by deception.”
The bill was originally introduced last year by Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) and would make “sexual assault by fraud a punishable offense.”
How does the bill define such fraud?
Well, according to the proposed legislation, it’s “an act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not.”
A huge proponent of the bill is mom-turned-activist Mischele Lewis (pictured above), who was shocked to discover the man she fell in love with turned out to be a con artist.
Her heartbreaking story was even detailed in an episode of Dateline.
The abridged version: When Lewis fell for Liam Allen, she thought he was a secret agent with the British government. Turns out, he was a bigamist who had been convicted of indecent assault of a minor. Allen eventually pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by deception and is currently serving out a three-year sentence.
“I think it’s important because trying to deceive anyone for the purpose of sexual gratification is just wrong,” Lewis told reporters. “Whether it’s as simple as… they slip off their wedding ring and then engage in a relationship with someone, but the man or woman has no idea that the person they are with is married. Lying to someone else for any reason is never OK.”
On the one hand, sexual predators who lure victims with deceptive means should definitely be punished.
However, does the proposed bill cast too wide a net? And will such a broad definition of the crime pose a threat of potentially clogging up the legal system?
These and more concerns have been addressed by people like Yale law professor Jed Rubenfield, who wrote in a 2013 edition of the Yale Law Review, “Rape-by-deception is almost universally rejected in American criminal law. But if rape is sex without the victim’s consent—as many courts, state statutes and scholars say it is—then sex-by-deception ought to be rape, because as courts have held for a hundred years in virtually every area of the law outside of rape, a consent procured through deception is no consent at all.”
According to a memo by the Office of Legislative Services, at least five states—Tennessee, Alabama, California, Colorado, and Montana—already have some sort of crime defined as “sex by fraud.”
If Singleton’s bill passes, lying lovers might want to think twice before fibbing to their significant other.
Tell us what you think of the bill. Share your thoughts in the comments.
Read more: Philly.com
Photo: SJ Magazine