A bill sponsored by Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley that would close a loophole regarding rape-by-impersonation cleared a key Assembly Committee late last week.
The bill, carried by San Luis Obispo Assemblymember Katcho Achigian, would make it rape for a man to have sex with a woman by “impersonating” another man, even if the victim and her true partner are not married. Existing rape laws only apply in such cases where the woman is married and someone impersonates her husband for the purpose of having sex. To have sex with an unmarried woman by false pretenses is currently defined as sexual battery.
Dudley said she knew of three instances where the new legal language would make a difference. In those instances, Dudley noted, the victim was neither asleep nor intoxicated when the assault occurred. When asked how any male could “impersonate” the husband or partner of an otherwise alert woman to initiate sexual relations, Dudley responded, “That is such a guy question,” adding, “You’re not that special.”
That Aachigian is carrying the bill rather than Das Williams, Santa Barbara’s representative in the State Assembly, has raised questions. Dudley and Williams issued communiques stressing that Williams supports the bill and enjoys good working relations with Dudley. Aachigian was the first to respond to a request by the county’s lobbyist in Sacramento.