In my August 30, 2013 post, “Seduction is not Rape,” I reviewed a case in which a 49-year-old male teacher who seduced his 14-year-old student was convicted of rape.
“Now, make no mistake about it; what he did was clearly wrong; a crime; a disgusting, unethical despicable act deserving substantial punishment,” I wrote, “but it was not rape. Those who call it rape are disingenuously engaged in redefining a word in the English language which means something entirely different than what happened to that girl. In doing so, they commit a disservice to women and girls who have actually been raped. This is a case of seduction and seduction is not rape. Rape requires the necessary element of force or coercion. It is the crime of forcing another person against their will to submit to sex acts.”
In that case the “victim” consented to the sexual acts. The teacher seduced her. There was no force involved. But the law arbitrarily specified that a minor does not have the mental capacity to consent to sex. So the force necessary to make the act a crime was implied from the arbitrary designation of a lack of consent – a legal fiction. The law provided that she couldn’t consent under any circumstances. If she couldn’t consent then she didn’t consent, and if she didn’t consent then it follows that she had to have been forced.
He didn’t rape that girl. Rape is the crime of forcing another person to submit to sexual acts. He seduced her. Calling seduction rape is like calling negligent homicide murder. Murder requires, among other things, the element of intent to kill, an element that is totally lacking in the crime of negligent homicide. To arbitrarily infer the element of intent to kill from negligence serves only to pervert the definition of murder.
The definition of rape is perverted by inferring the necessary element of force from the fact that the victim is a minor. The crime of seduction of a minor is far less serious than the crime of rape, but by calling seduction rape the law employs a fiction for the purpose of making the two crimes seem to be of equal import.
Today, a New Jersey lawmaker wants to take the legal fiction a step further down the road to absurdity by criminalizing what he calls the act of “rape by fraud.” Sex by fraud is already defined as a crime in at least five states, including California and Tennessee.
That’s right. If a grown man lies to a grown woman in order to talk her into having sex, he’s a rapist according to New Jersey Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-Burlington. In short, he thinks that the fraud amounts to the force necessary for the commission of the crime of rape.
“I truly believe that we have to look at the issue of rape as more than sexual contact without consent,” Singleton explains. “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.”
It happens all the time. A guy tells a woman he loves her. He lies. He really doesn’t love her; he just wants to get in her pants and it works. If lawmaker Singleton has his way with the legislature, the guy will be convicted as a rapist.
That is absurd. Why? ... Because seduction is not rape.