Lying to a Lover Could Become 'Rape' In New Jersey

What's next, throwing people in jail who say they'll call the next day and don't?



Today in criminalize all the things: a New Jersey lawmaker wants to make it illegal to lie to someone in order to tempt them into sex. Assemblyman Troy Singleton's (D-Burlington) bill would create the new crime of "sexual assault by fraud", defined as "an act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not."

"I truly believe that we have to look at the issue of rape as more than sexual contact without consent," Singleton said. "Fraud invalidates any semblance of consent just as forcible sexual contact does. This legislation is designed to provide our state's judiciary with another tool to assess situations where this occurs and potentially provide a legal remedy to those circumstances." 

No no no just no: we do not need a legal remedy for people having bad judgement. Is it a shame that some people misrepresent themselves to get people to sleep with them? Sure. But not every aspect of social and sexual relationships can be a matter for government concern. What's next, making it a misdemeanor to use outdated photos on your Tinder profile? Criminalizing push-up bras? Throwing people in jail who say they'll call the next day but don't? 

The situation Singleton says spawned his proposal involves Mischele Lewis, a woman defrauded by a man claiming to be a British military official. The pair had sex and Lewis also paid the man, William Allen Jordan, $5,000 for an alleged security clearance. When Jordan turned out to be a scam artist, Lewis pressed charges and he wound up pleading guilty to defrauding her. Justice served, right? Not in the warped worldview of New Jersey prosecutors, who apparently can't stand the idea that some areas of interpersonal dynamics aren't within their prosecutorial reach.

The state originally wanted to charge Jordan with sexual assault by coercion—a charge a grand jury refused to indict him on. Now it seems Singleton has stepped in to try and ensure they won't be disappointed again. His proposed crime of sexual assault by fraud would be punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison. Singleton said he wants to allow for judicial discretion because "we don't want unintended consequences."

But giving the state broad discretion to adjudicate lies between lovers would yield a hotbed of unintended consequences, not to mention the (obviously intended, yet despicable) consequence of furthering the creep of law enforcement into all areas of our lives. Furthermore, it's not necessary to broadly criminalize deceiving someone into sex to hold people accountable in cases like a recent notorious one in California, wherein a man snuck into a sleeping woman's room after he saw her boyfriend leave and sexually penetrated her. The woman awoke, assumed it was her boyfriend, and went along with it until she saw the man, at which point she fought back and fled. The man was legally liable for starting sex with her while she was asleep and thus unable to consent—i.e., committing rape, no extra statute needed. 

"Rape-by-deception" has been "almost universally rejected in American criminal law," according to Yale Law Professor Jed Rubenfeld. Yet it's "a live and intensifying issue." In 2010, Massachusetts tried to pass a bill criminalizing having sex with someone after "having obtained that person's consent by the use of fraud, concealment or artifice"; it was rejected. California passed a rape by fraud law in 2013, following the case described just above. Tennessee also prohibits all "intercourse induced by deception, accomplished by fraud, and obtained by ruse," as do Alabama and a handful of other states. 

NEXT: Jacob Sullum Explains Why Michael Brown's Killer Would Have Been Acquitted

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  1. In that case, Barney's character from How I Met Your Mother would just be a serial rapist. Not to mention Wedding Crashers, etc.

    1. Shakespeare: nothing but rape plays

      1. Rape is like poop the joke practically writes itself.

      2. Didn't make a movie about this? About a society where everyone told the truth and lies were forbidden. It outlawed all fiction. People would go to theaters to see history films - films that attempted to just state facts. I think Jennifer Garner was in it.

        1. It was called "Electra", and it won three Academy Awards.

        2. Someone needs to make a film about the Black Plague.

    2. A serial rapist played by a gay man. I can hear the progs imploding already.

  2. So that should also mean that if a woman falsely tells you she's on birth control or can't get pregnant for some other reason, you are off the hook if she gets pregnant, right?

    1. Because she lied, making it rape?

    2. Women don't ever lie. You can get pregnant on the pi...hahahaha nvm.

    3. The first time I had this happen was in high school - we were 15. I didn't take the bait. Her next boyfriend did and they were pregnant and then married as high school juniors.

      I've heard it probably 3 or 4 times since then.

      So not all that uncommon a ruse.

    4. Not of the hook, you still get to be the daddy (at least financially speaking) but if being a daddy doesn't bother you that much then having her charged with raping you might be the one way you could get custody and make her pay you child support.

  3. do I look fat in this?

  4. "Hey baby. Come home with me and see my nine inches".

    1. Reminds me of this scene from I'm Gonna' Git You Sucka!

  5. So a woman could divorce her husband, then prosecute him for sexual assault by fraud because he told her ''til death do us part'.

  6. I'm honestly torn about this, to a degree. Take a hypothetical where someone says that they can get you some good or service in exchange for sex, and it turns out that they never had the intent or even the ability to deliver. Now substitute "$500" for "sex". What makes the latter a crime but the former just bad judgement? I'm not saying it should be rape, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to call it a crime and violation of the NAP.

    1. Are those Nicole Millers in yet?

      1. "I once told a woman that I don't eat cake because it goes right to my tighs."

        "I once told a woman I coined phrase 'Pardon my French'."

        1. I once told a girl I liked Barry Manilow to get laid. I was young and didn't know any better.

        2. although it's not about sex, the best lie in Seinfeld is about George's horses: Snoopy & Prickly Pete.

        3. "Uh...bonjour?"

    2. I don't see how you can go down that road and not criminalize virtually every instance of lying.

      1. ^^ Yup

        I wouldn't be surprised if Walter Block wrote a book on this.

      2. But where do you draw the line and why? I'm not asking rhetorically. I'm honestly interested in people's thoughts on this because it does seem like a possible outgrowth of the NAP.

        I guess one possible place to draw the line is when a lie is specifically designed to entice an exchange of goods or services under false pretense.

        I agree it is a possible slippery slope, but you've already taken that step by criminalizing fraud.

        1. At common law the line was drawn between fraud in the factum vs. fraud in the inducement. The classic cases of the former involved people pretending to be some woman's husband slipping into the bed in the dark of the night and having sex with her. That was punished. But fraud in the inducement, lying about yourself to get the woman to sleep with you, that was not rape.

          I'm not sure how that distinction breaks down as a philosophical matter (because what induces the woman to sleep with the guy in the first instance is the fraud about who he is, right?), but I think the rule serves the purpose of keeping the government to some sensible limit.

          1. Thanks for that. So could fraud in the inducement be punished when defrauding someone for money or a commercial good or service? Are things treated differently when sex is involved in the eyes of the law?

          2. Both fraud in the factum and fraud in the inducement are criminal offenses.

            AL and TN already have laws to punish both instances of rape by fraud.

            Today, we no longer use the term rape to denote a sex act without consent. More typically, legislators prefer "sexual assault," "sexual battery", and "sexual misconduct." All fraud in the inducement qualifies in the states containing such laws in their penal code.

            Here's why...

            *Non-consensual sex is sexual assault
            *Consent ins invalid when induced by deception

            Both statements are legal premise contained in the laws of every state.

            Lying to induce attraction is not a crime. Perpetuating that trickery to induce sex is.

            To learn more about this crime see #StopRapeByFraud

            And please participate in the very first Truth in Romance Day coming on June 15th.

        2. My friends asked me what I thought about the government licensing journalists - you have to establish a record of reporting true things in order to be licensed as a journalist. This was in response to Fox News blatantly report false facts about several stories about a year ago.

          They just couldn't see that A) this would only establish a mechanism for censorship because the government, or whatever party was in power, would only license the people that reported things in a favorable light to them and B) that truth is always going to be subjective. It wouldn't matter if journalists had a stamp of approval from a government agency - smart people would take that bias into account, and dumb people would blindly believe whatever they heard. The same thing happens now.

        3. You can call it fraud if you like, and IANAL, but I believe that it would be a civil matter in this case and judgement would be based on damages. What damages would the 'victim' claim in this case?

          But these proposed laws are trying to equate smooth talking someone into bed with rape.

          1. "You can call it fraud if you like, and IANAL"

            Hehe you said anal

          2. The damage of rape. Duping someone to induce sex is the same as drugging someone to induce sex. Both "vitiate" the victim's self determination over their sex organs.

        4. You draw the line at a legally binding contract. Generally those need to be written for anything important.

    3. Well if you want to consider sex a legitimate exchange of value then yes that would be fraud but no new laws would be required, you just prosecute under the existing laws.

      However that would make sexual fraud extremely common because every time a couple broke up one or both members could legitimately claim to have been defrauded.

      That would also require legalizing prostitution.

  7. I am dubious that women will support a law that could see them prosecuted for rape just by wearing concealer and a weave.

    1. The padded bras are the worst.

    2. It's OK when women do it: they are a prosecuted minority. Well, not numerically, but you know what I mean, right? Right???

  8. Does the government want to absolve women of ALL responsibility? Shouldn't women determine for themselves if a guy is a liar before bedding down with him? Many women have trouble being taken seriously already. Insulting and infantilizing legislation like this will only make it worse. Besides, what's considered a lie? Would exaggerating my virtues and downplaying my faults be considered lying? Would failure to disclose every questionable thing I've ever done in my life be considered a lie of omission? Democrats have now surpassed Republicans in their zeal to intrude into America's bedrooms. These people are vile.

    1. "Does the government want to absolve women of ALL responsibility?"

      The government is probably ambivalent on this and is really only interested because it makes it easier for them throw people in jail.

      Feminists however, yes that is exactly what they want.

    2. Does the government want to absolve women of ALL responsibility?

      Yes. Women are not responsible for their own well being. They must be kept in purdah, must wear niqqabs in public, and must only go out when accompanied by a responsible male.

  9. "You're pretty!"
    "You're under arrest!"

  10. This should be fun. There was a case in Israel a few years ago where some Arab was convicted of rape because he banged a Jewish woman after lying to her and telling her that he was Jewish as well. I'll be interested to see what happens the first time some racist chick brings charges because the guy she went home said he was white, but he turned out to be one-eighth black or something, and she flipped out when she learned the truth. http://volokh.com/2010/07/21/a.....om-israel/

  11. And of course there's always the old "I'll respect you in the morning" line.

    1. Isn't there an "again" somewhere in that sentence?

  12. My keg of outrage has gone flat. Just stay away from me.

  13. So does this mean that when a New Jersey government employee lies to me they are actually rapping me?

      1. It's rape if the rap isn't true.

    1. Go listen to Silent E!

  14. Fraud in the factum vs. fraud in the inducement

    "the law has traditionally sought to avoid this trouble. It has done so by distinguishing "fraud in the factum" from "fraud in the inducement." If the deceiver conceals the core nature of the act, then he commits "fraud in the factum." This fraud vitiates sexual consent on the grounds that "what happened is not that for which consent was given."3 Two paradigms are misrepresenting sex as a medical procedure and impersonating someone's spouse.4 But if the deception concerns other matters of fact, then the deceiver merely commits "fraud in the inducement," which does not vitiate sexual consent. A paradigmatic example would be lying about one's alma mater in order to appear a more attractive sexual proposition."


    1. So what is the fraud Gruber engaged in. What sort of standing does one need to have to sue? What's the class action on this?

    2. Your characterization of the act of defrauding someone of sex by your use of the word "merely" underscores that you don't have much respect for the self determination of another human being. Sexual assault isn't "merely" anything. It destroys lives.

      Both fraud in the factum and fraud in the inducement are punishable offenses in a number of states.

  15. I should probably just end the charade now before this idiotic trash becomes law. I am not the worlds strongest billionaire.

    1. You probably weren't a child actor, an Olympic power lifter, big wave surfer, or Eddie VanHalen's replacement either. In fact, I bet you've never even slept with you wife, Morgan Fairchild.

    2. - "I should probably just end the charade now before this idiotic trash becomes law. I am not the worlds strongest billionaire."

      Of course not. How could there be two of us?

  16. I remember this same bullshit was brought up in the early 90s.

  17. If she had sex with him just to get outside benefits from him, in exchange... isn't that more-or-less prostitution, too?

    I don't think she should be charged with that - which is also why "lying about who you are" doesn't make it rape, just you a person of low character and a scrub.

    (And if she had sex with him for reasons other than to get the benefits of his alleged position, well ... those reasons that don't hinge on that can't disappear because he lied about the position, can they?

    Prosecution for fraud seems sufficient to cover all the State should be concerned with.)

  18. Me: I'll make you see stars.
    Her, after the fact:( http://www.sadtrombone.com/ ) RAPE!

  19. How can fucking a deception be non-consensual if indeed consent was given to fuck said deception? So, you wouldn't have fucked that cock if it didn't belong to a British gentleman after all? Or, you wouldn't have penetrated that vagina if she wasn't actually rich? What sort of fucking is this? It seems almost too murky to even belong in a court of law.

  20. Good thing we have the Democrats to protect us from the religious right. Wait? What?

    Is it just me or are the feminists trying to promulgate rules to protect womanhood that would make a Victorian gentleman say "Seriously"?

  21. And I'm sure that NJ will be at the forefront of arresting women for push-up bras, implants and hairweaves, right? Oh, Christ, I just sentenced the state's female population to prison.

  22. what about beer goggles. They turn ugly into acceptable. Do the ugly now have a duty to disclose?

    "I got drunk and thought you were hot, now I think you are gross. RAPE!"

    1. I'm pretty sure that's exactly how it works on college campuses now.

  23. I was like totally raped the other day. I was a this restaurant and I ordered my steak medium rare, like there's any other way, and they like totally overcooked it. That's totally rape.

    1. Palatial injustice! Though, I think that would only work if you stood up and starting fucking the hot steak right on the goddamn table. No one wants to fuck an overcooked steak when it claims to be otherwise. Fuck that steak!

  24. When my love swears that she is made of truth,
    I do believe her, though I know she lies,
    That she might think me some untutored youth,
    Unlearn?d in the world's false subtleties

  25. So when I see her without her makeup the next morning, I can dial 911 and have her arrested for rape?

  26. "an act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not."

    I see. Are women not capable of manipulating men into having sex with them?

    "I truly believe that we have to look at the issue of rape as more than sexual contact without consent," Singleton said.

    Sure, let's make it something more than the LITERAL definition rape.

    Criminalizing push-up bras?

    As I implied, women can very well manipulate men into sex.

    5 to 20 years in prison

    Rhetorical: Really? None of the people pushing this think this punishment is a bit excessive for something that does not constitute forced penetration?

    "we don't want unintended consequences."

    But you will certainly get them.

  27. She had fake boobs! Make up! False eye lashes! Fraud! Rape!

    Oh, that's right, only penises are evil:
    "an act of sexual *penetration* to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented *he* is someone *he* is not"

  28. " But not every aspect of social and sexual relationships can be a matter for government concern."

    Everything *can* be a matter for government concern. That's the "total" in totalitarianism, the end goal of the Progressive Theocracy.

  29. my friend's half-sister makes $74 /hr on the laptop . She has been fired for 8 months but last month her payment was $15926 just working on the laptop for a few hours. browse this site....

    ?????? http://www.payinsider.com

  30. Amanda Marcotte even thinks this is a bad law. Just not for the right reasons.

    Given that this law has very little chance of passing, it shouldn't matter much. But it does! Because it gives those who oppose any legislation attempting to address sexual abuse (affirmative consent laws, for instance) the ability to point and say: Look, those crazies think everything is rape, even fibbing!

  31. A lot of gay men just became rapists. Including many of the total bottoms.

    1. And a lot of lesbians too.

  32. Sounds like a Full Employment for Prostitutes law.

  33. If the statute were cut back to just the first clause (lying about the purpose of the act), it could be used to prosecute women who commit birth-control fraud in order to collect child support. That *should* be criminalized. The rest, not so much.

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