They embraced at the end of the night and kiss softly. She is sleepy; he is in a rush to get home and prepare for the next day but decides to stay until she falls asleep. In the next room is her brother’s friend whom sees him leave.
She slept soundly as the man entered her room and began kissing her and caressing her. He knew she was responding to his touch because she thought he was her boyfriend. The man continued to stimulate her in the darkness until the inevitable happened. As they made love, the woman caught a glimpse of the man’s face in a sliver of light shining through a crack in her bedroom door. Realizing what was happening, she screamed and pushed him off.
He was arrested and convicted of rape. But as the panel of judges on the state Court of Appeal in Los Angeles concluded, the prosecution erred.
California's 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that a man impersonating a woman's boyfriend could not be convicted of rape. This was a case of alleged rape except it was not rape, the court ruled, because California laws crafted more than a century ago deemed such an act of impersonation to be rape only when committed upon a married woman, not a single woman. If she had been married, his conviction would have been upheld.
"Has the man committed rape? Because of historical anomalies in the law and the statutory definition of rape, the answer is no, even though, if the woman had been married and the man had impersonated her husband, the answer would be yes," Judge Thomas L. Willhite Jr. wrote in the court's decision.
The prosecution argued both that the man raped her because she was unconscious and didn’t know what was going on (illegal) and that he raped her by misrepresenting who he was (not illegal because she’s not married). Because there’s no way of knowing which of those two assumptions the jury convicted him on, the man’s case was overturned.
Laws should protect people from this kind of invasion and punish perpetrators. A wedding ring should not be the determining factor on who will and will not be the victim of a sexual predator.