Rape by deception

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Rape by deception is a crime in which the perpetrator has the victim's sexual consent and compliance, but gains it through deception or fraudulent statements or actions.

The media may also refer to this type of rape as "rape by fraud",[1] "rape by impersonation" or "rape by trickery"[citation needed].

Notable cases[edit]

United States[edit]

In 2008, it was reported that a Massachusetts woman, Marissa Lee-Fuentes, unknowingly had sex with her boyfriend's brother in the dark basement that she was sleeping in. He could not be prosecuted because Massachusetts law then required that rape include the use of force.[1][2] Massachusetts State House Representative Peter Koutoujian crafted rape-by-fraud legislation in response, but it has yet to pass.

In California, on February 20, 2009, Julio Morales snuck into a sleeping 18-year-old woman’s darkened bedroom after he saw her boyfriend leave. The woman said she awoke to the sensation of someone having sex with her and assumed it was her boyfriend. When a ray of light hit Morales’s face, and the woman saw he was not her boyfriend, she fought back and Morales fled. The woman called her boyfriend, who then called the police. Julio Morales was convicted of rape under two concepts. He was guilty of rape because he began having sex with the woman while she was still asleep and, therefore, unable to consent. He was also guilty of rape-by-fraud because he had impersonated the woman’s boyfriend in order to gain her consent. However, an appellate court ruled that the lower court had misread the 1872 law criminalizing rape-by-fraud. The law stated a man is guilty of rape-by-fraud if he impersonates a woman’s husband in order to get her consent. The woman in this case was not married, and Morales had impersonated her boyfriend, not her husband. Because of this one technicality, the appellate court completely overturned Julio Morales’s rape conviction in People vs. Morales in 2013. To close this loophole in California’s rape-by-fraud law, Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) – who tried to introduce a similar bill in 2011 – introduced Assembly Bill 65 and Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) introduced Senate Bill 59. The two bills quickly passed both houses without one dissenting vote, and were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 9, 2013. Morales was then re-tried and convicted to three years in a state prison.[3]


A legal precedent in Israel classifying sex by deception as rape was set by the Supreme Court in a 2008 conviction of a man who posed as a government official and persuaded women to have sex with him by promising them state benefits.[4][5] Another man, Eran Ben-Avraham, was convicted of fraud after having told a woman he was a neurosurgeon before she had sex with him.[5]

In 2010, a conviction of rape by deception drew international attention when it was first reported that a man deceived a woman into consensual sex within ten minutes of their first meeting by, according to the amended indictment, lying about being Jewish, unmarried, and interested in a long-term relationship.[6] (In later interviews, the man later denied the allegations that he lied, but such denials were not mentioned in his plea bargain.)[7][8] However, it was later reported that the charge had actually been the result of a plea bargain with the defendant in what had originally been a rape-by-force case where the records were sealed by the judge to protect the identity of the victim and avoid the cross-examination of her. (The sex was consensual according to one of the judges.)[9][10] The man was represented by the public defender's office, and the woman by the prosecution. Sabbar Kashur, an Israeli Arab Muslim resident of Jerusalem who was married with two children, accepted a plea bargain and an 18-month sentence on the reduced charge of rape by deception in 2010 after a period of incarceration and house arrest. Details later declassified showed that the initial charge was of violent rape, but the prosecution agreed to the reduced charge of rape by deception because of the victim's confused account and concern at facing another court appearance. They also indicated that the woman was emotionally disturbed and had a history of sexual abuse.[7][10] The court sent the victim to a mental hospital for treatment and convicted Kashur on the lesser charge.[9] Prosecutors agreed to the plea bargain in order to spare the woman a long cross-examination that might undermine her evidence.[10] The public defender appealed the sentence to the Supreme Court, which postponed the sentence pending the appeal and freed Kashur from house arrest.[7] In 2012 the sentence was cut to 9 months by the Supreme Court.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Rape 'by Deception' May Become A Crime In Massachusetts". CBS News. 2008-02-29. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  2. ^ If Your Neighbor Poses as Your Husband, Is it Rape?
  3. ^ http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-man-gets-prison-rape-impersonation-case-20140508-story.html
  4. ^ Israel jails Arab in "sex through fraud" case
  5. ^ a b Arab man who posed as Jew to seduce woman convicted of rape
  6. ^ Arab man who posed as Jew to seduce woman convicted of rape
  7. ^ a b c Lital Grossman, From rape to racism: How and why did charges change against Arab man?, September 17, 2010
  8. ^ a b Paraszczuk, Joanna (January 27, 2012). "Court cuts Arab-Israeli rape-by-deception sentence". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Arab rape-by-deception charge 'was result of plea bargain'" Rachel Shabi, September 8, 2010, The Guardian.
  10. ^ a b c "Unravelling the Israeli Arab 'rape by deception' case" Dina Newman, September 17, 2010, BBC.