Assembly passes legislation expanding definition of rape - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Assembly passes legislation expanding definition of rape

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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York State Assembly passed a bill Monday that would add other forms of sexual assault to the current definition of rape.

The move towards expanding the definition came after a mistrial was declared in March of 2012 on the rape charge against a former New York City police officer. He was convicted of a number of other charges for holding a Bronx school teacher at gun point, threatening her life and forcibly sexually assaulting her.

"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. This terrible and unnecessary violation of a person's body leaves emotional and physical scars that persist for years to come," said the bill's primary sponsor, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, a Democrat from Queens.

Currently, the law defines the crime of rape only in cases of vaginal penetration. This bill would expand the law to remove requirement that penetration be proven and would include oral and anal sexual conduct.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver joined Simotas and said in a statement, "Rape is rape, it is awful and it is something that cannot be justified or excused. By amending the current law we recognize the trauma suffered by victims and ensure that rapists are effectively prosecuted."

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