The state Assembly passed a bill expanding the definition of rape to include other types of sexual assault, but the legislation has no Senate sponsor.
The bill includes oral and anal sexual assault to New York’s definition of rape, and it also removes a requirement that penetration must be proven for a rape charge. Under current law, only cases of nonconsensual vaginal penetration can be prosecuted as rape.
“Rape is rape. It is awful, and it is something that cannot be justified or excused,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a statement Tuesday. “Those that commit such heinous acts should be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows.”
The bill is in response to a 2012 crime when a New York City police officer held a Bronx teacher at gunpoint and sexually assaulted her. Under current law, he could not be charged with rape.
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern, Rockland County, are among the co-sponsors of the bill.
“Survivors of sexual assault have courageously come forward with their stories and have made it evident that what they’ve experienced is rape, even if it’s currently interpreted otherwise,” Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, D-Queens, the bill’s primary sponsor, said in a statement. “This terrible and unnecessary violation of a person’s body leaves emotional and physical scars that persist for years to come.”