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New York State Assembly Redefines and Updates Laws on Rape

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Photo contributed.
New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Photo contributed.

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver joined with Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Women's Issues Aravella Simotas to announce the passage of a new legislation changing the definition of rape.

The changes reinforce current law to add other forms of sexual assault, specifically oral and anal sexual sexual assault, to the current definition of rape. It also removes the requirement that penetration must be proven to establish a rape charge.

Current law defines the rape only in cases of vaginal penetration. This bill allows other forms of sexual conduct, such as oral and anal sex, will be defined as a criminal sexual act. 

"This legislation amends the current law to ensure that all victims who suffer such traumatizing and inexcusable acts of sexual assault are seen as the same in the eyes of the law," Silver said.

The catalyst for redefining rape stems from the 2012 case of Lydia Cuomo, a Bronx school teacher, who was held at gun point by a former New York City police officer and sexually assaulted. The former police officer was not convicted of the crime of rape despite the evidence presented in court of forcible, nonconsensual sexual conduct.

Assembly Speaker Silver said, "Rape is rape, there is no way around it and we should certainly not be telling victims that their victimization is different or less than that of others because of arbitrary definitions," Silver said. "This legislation amends the current law to ensure that all victims who suffer such traumatizing and inexcusable acts of sexual assault are seen as the same in the eyes of the law."


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