House lawmakers vote to close loopholes in legal definition of “rape”

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(Photo supplied/Elkhart Truth)

The Indiana House has voted overwhelmingly to close a couple of loopholes in the legal definition of rape.

Attica Republican Sharon Negele’s bill addresses what she says is the rare but not unheard-of circumstance where someone fools a woman into believing the person making sexual contact is her usual sexual partner. She says Purdue had one such incident. Negele says “rape by impersonation” removes a woman’s right and ability to consent.

The bill adds that situation to the definition of rape. The bill also clarifies that a woman can make clear through words or actions that she doesn’t consent. Negele says different judges have been interpreting the law differently, with some allowing prosecutors to explain Indiana case law to juries and others saying they can’t. Instead of relying on precedent, the bill writes that definition directly into Indiana law.

The House passed the bill 84-3. The Senate will consider the bill next month.

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