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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 20th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 2 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 2

Rape-by-fraud bill is one step closer to being law

BY AMY ASMAN

State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian’s (R-San Luis Obispo) “rape-by-fraud” bill cleared an important hurdle on March 12 when the Assembly Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to let it continue its journey to becoming law.

A.B. 65 would extend legal protection to unmarried women and men who are raped by someone impersonating their significant other. State law currently says a person who impersonates someone is guilty of rape only if the victim is married and the person is pretending to be his or her spouse.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley testified at the subcommittee hearing on March 12. She first approached Achadjian about changing the law in 2010 after she was unable to prosecute a case of rape by fraud.

Dudley talked about her positive experience in Sacramento with the Sun.

She said there’s the common belief that legislation can’t get passed in government because politicians can’t get past their differences: “You feel helpless. But at the subcommittee hearing, you could feel the energy shift, and we just knew that this is going to become law.

“Katcho and I are a perfect example of people being able to put their differences aside [to help people],” she said. “I’m a Democrat, he’s a Republican; I’m Jewish from New York City, he’s Armenian; he’s north county, I’m south county.”

Now the bill will make its way to the Assembly floor via the financial subcommittee, and then on to the Senate.

“We fully expect everyone in the Assembly to vote for it,” Dudley said.

The Assembly unanimously supported a similar bill last year, but it died in the Senate Public Safety Subcommittee because of a policy that prohibits the Senate from creating any bills that would increase the state prison population.

Dudley said the new law most likely won’t be deterred by the policy because of the recent passage of legislation designed to combat prison overcrowding.