Obscure CA Law Vacates Rape Case Because Victim Wasn't Married

Obscure CA Law Vacates Rape Case Because Victim Wasn't Married

A man’s rape conviction was overturned because of an archaic California law dating back to 1872 which does not provide single women with the same protections as married women against rape by imposters.

The law states “any person who fraudulently obtains the consent of another to sexual relations escapes criminal liability (at least as a sex offender under tit. IX of the Pen. Code), unless he (or she) masquerades as the victim’s spouse.” Because the victim is unmarried, her attacker is not guilty of rape for tricking her into believing she was having sex with her boyfriend under California law.

In 2009, Julio Morales entered the victim’s bedroom after her boyfriend had left and started having sex with her while she was asleep. The victim, identified as Jane Doe, thought Morales was her boyfriend, but light coming through the doorway exposed his face. She tried to push him away, but Morales forced himself on her before she could finally escape. Morales admitted he knew she was not aware it was him and not Victor.

“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 appellate court’s decision.

Now his three year sentence has been overturned.

Idaho had a similar case in 2010 when a boyfriend tricked his girlfriend into having sex with a stranger. That law has been changed, but no word if California will do the same thing.