SACRAMENTO – Assembly Member Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) today joined Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) in introducing bipartisan legislation to close an archaic loophole in state law and expand the definition of rape to include cases where a perpetrator deceives a victim into sexual activity by impersonating the person’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
“This is an appalling failure of justice, and I am committed to acting swiftly to prevent a similar occurrence in the future,” said Speaker Pérez. “Like every Californian, I was deeply disturbed by this decision, and my colleagues and I will work on eliminating this glaring loophole in state law and protect Californians from such a gross violation.”
Last week, the State Court of Appeals overturned a rape conviction in a 2009 Los Angeles County case where a perpetrator impersonated his friend and had sex with his girlfriend. The Court last week overturned the initial conviction, pointing to an outdated provision in state law in ruling that a person who impersonates someone is guilty of rape only if the victim was married and the person pretending to be their spouse.
“Today, Republicans and Democrats are joining together to make an important statement – the Legislature will not stand for rapists getting away with their heinous acts because of an ancient provision in state law,” said Achadjian. “The overwhelming response last week to an injustice in the law that I’ve been fighting to end for quite some time will give our proposal the strong momentum it needs to be enacted into law. Our legislation is just the start of a bipartisan movement to change the law and ensure that no one else experiences the injustice that the victims in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara have had to endure.”
Assembly Bill 65 (Achadjian and Pérez) would fix this outrageous provision in the law, and expand the definition of rape to include cases where a perpetrator impersonates a person’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
In response to a similar case in Santa Barbara County, Achadjian last year authored Assembly Bill 765 to expand the definition of rape to include cases where a perpetrator deceives a victim into submitting to sexual activity be impersonating the victim’s cohabitant (live in girlfriend or boyfriend). The measure won unanimous approval in the State Assembly, but was held in the Senate Public Safety Committee. Assembly Bill 65 is very similar to last year’s legislation, but will be expanded in response to the Los Angeles County court ruling to include cases where the boyfriend or girlfriend did not live together.
In addition to Acahdjian and Speaker Pérez a bipartisan coalition of 13 State Senators and 30 Assembly Members has signed on as co-authors of AB 65.
Assembly Member Achadjian proudly represents all of San Luis Obispo County and part of Santa Barbara County, including the cities of Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Paso Robles, Grover Beach, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and surrounding communities.
Assemblymember Achadjian passing the bill across the desk: https://vimeo.com/56950179
Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker
Website of Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian: http://republican.assembly.ca.gov/member/AD35/