Protect Unmarried Women in California from Rape by Deception

Target: California State Legislature

Goal: Amend protection from rape by deception law to apply to all women

Recently, a convicted rapist in California was set free because of a loophole in an obscure law from the 1800s. Julio Morales impersonated the boyfriend of his victim in order to have sex with her. However, the law only protects married women from this rape by deception. As the victim was unmarried at the time, the conviction of her rapist was overturned. There is currently no law in California that protects women from this type of rape.

A law created in 1872 defines the act of deceiving a married woman into thinking another person is her husband as rape. This law means that only married women can be protected from rape by deception. Single women and those living with their partners are not given this same protection. In Morales’ case, he deceived his victim into thinking he was her live-in boyfriend. Although she would not have consented if she was aware of his true identity, by the current laws of California, this case was not rape solely because she was unmarried.

Rape by deception is not always recognized as rape, but a person who is deceived into having sexual relations with another person is a victim of rape if she would not have consented otherwise. California law recognizes this act as rape if the victim is married, but a woman’s marital status should have absolutely no effect on the legal definition of this act. There have been past attempts to change the law, but current prison overcrowding problems have prevented support for this change. The current law is controversial and outdated, and needs to be updated to protect all the women in the state.

Sign the petition below to demand equal protections under the law for both married and unmarried women.


Dear California State Legislature,

Recently, a rape conviction was overturned due to a loophole in an outdated law. Julio Morales impersonated his victim’s boyfriend in order to have sexual relations with her. However, Morales had his conviction overturned because his victim was unmarried. The 1872 law only protects victims of rape by deception if they are married women whose husbands are impersonated.

I ask you to change the law to protect all women, regardless of their marital status. A woman should not need to be married to be protected from rape by deception. Although common sense says that the act of impersonating another for sex is an act of rape, the law does not define it as such for all victims. Change the law and protect future victims from this crime.


[Your Name Here]

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43 Signatures

  • Ana Maria Mainhardt Carpes
  • Ellen McCann
  • Darlene Roepke
  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Ann Blank
  • tam O
  • Mary-Carol Gales
  • Debbie Biere
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
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