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Governor Signs Bill To Close Rape Loophole

By Victoria Sanchez, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Anchor/Reporter, victoriasanchez@keyt.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:26:10 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 10 2013 11:28:50 PM CDT

Original rape-by-fraud law written in 1872, didn't protect unmarried people

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

It's taken nearly three years, but the rape loophole in California's law has been closed.

Gov. Jerry Brown approved AB 65 after unanimous votes in both the Senate and Assembly.

The previous law, dating back to 1872, stated if someone was raped by a person pretending to be their partner, it wasn't legally rape.

After more than 140 years, the definition of rape is being updated.

"It's a wonderful think that this law has been clarified," said Elsa Granados, the executive director of the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center.

In 2009, Courtney Wettach was raped in Santa Barbara. A man broke into her house and pretended to be her boyfriend.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley couldn't prosecute because Wettach wasn't married.

But that wasn't the end of the story.

"She didn't just sit on her hands," said Granados.

Granados said although it took a long time, the fact that someone was doing something about the law made all the difference.

"For us the moral support is a big factor," she said.

Dudley brought the loophole issue to Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian in 2011.

The law said, when someone is raped by fraud or impersonation, it can only be rape if the victim is married.

Achajian made his case last month.

"AB 65 will update existing law to ensure justice for all victims, regardless of their relationship status," he said.

With both the senate and assembly unanimously passing the bill and with Brown's signature, the law can now protect all victims.

"It makes us all proud that we finally came to our senses and put a protection in place that rape is rape and there are not two ways about it," said Achajian.

"We now have a law in place that doesn't obstruct that ability for them to come and seek justice," said Granados.

The Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center 24 hour hotline: 805-564-3696

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