Home News Changes in rape laws go into effect in September

Changes in rape laws go into effect in September

Changes in rape laws go into effect in September

PUCKHKEEPSIE Dutchess County District Attorney Anthony Parisi is applauding the changes made to the state’s rape laws and hopes to use them to ensure that victims of sexual assault receive justice. The modifications, which Governor Hochul approved at the end of January, broaden and modernize the definition of rape in the penal code so that more types of coerced, nonconsensual sex can be considered crimes and prosecuted as such.

Parisi hailed the amendments as a monumental step forward for the acknowledgment and protection of all those who have survived coerced or nonconsensual sex.

The Rape is Rape Act is the aggregate name for the modifications to the act, which take effect on September 1. The bill broadens the definition of rape to include not only vaginal sexual contact but also oral and anal sexual contact, eliminating the requirement of penetration from the term found in the rape statutes. This means that oral and anal sexual assaults may now be charged as rape rather than sexual assault under the new statute.

Parisi stated that it was long overdue for our rape statutes to be updated. One of the worst crimes ever committed, rape is the ultimate assault on a person’s physical, emotional, and mental integrity. This legal reform guarantees that rapes of all kinds be recognized as the horrible and traumatic crimes that they are. This adjustment will give survivors more authority and assist my office’s ongoing efforts to hold those responsible for this abuse accountable and pursue justice for all survivors.

The head of Parisi’s Special Victims Unit, Angela Lopane, emphasized the significance of the new laws for both criminal prosecutions and survivors. Before the new law was passed, according to Lopane, penetration of the vagina or other body orifices with a tool other than the penis was classified as sexual abuse rather than rape in New York. Chief Lopane highlighted the challenges posed by the antiquated legislation, stating that it is challenging to explain sexual abuse to juries and survivors since, to many, it seems like so much less than rape. Lopane applauded the definitions and clarifications provided by the Rape is Rape Act. It is offensive to anyone who experiences these traumatic occurrences to refer to these acts as anything other than rape. With this modification, the statute’s plain language now officially recognizes unwelcome oral or anal intercourse as rape and calls it such.

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can get support by calling 911 or the Family Services Rape Crisis hotline, which is open around-the-clock at 845-452-7272.

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