Last year, Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (San Luis Obispo) introduced Assembly Bill 765. The measure, which is sponsored by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney, addresses a loophole that prevented the District Attorney from fully prosecuting an assailant for felony rape. Assemblyman Achadjian’s bill will address this discrepancy by expanding the definition of felony rape to include cases where the victim is induced into sexual contact by a perpetrator who impersonates a cohabitant (live-in boyfriend/girlfriend).
While we understand the Committee’s concern regarding prison overcrowding, we believe that the need for this measure outweighs the minimal impact that if could have on the size of the State’s prison population. Please share your organization’s support for this bill by contacting the Senate Public Safety Committee in writing to request that the bill be given an up or down vote.
Please let us know if you have any comments or questions, we are happy to help in any way that we can. Please email Alexis Marbach at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Click here to download the AB 765 (Achadjian) Fact Sheet
Click here to download the Support letter for AB 765 (Achadjian)
The Honorable Loni Hancock
Chair, Senate Public Safety Committee
State Capitol, Room 2031
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Senator Hancock:
[insert organization name] is pleased to join the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault in supporting Assembly Bill 765 (Achadjian), which would protect victims of rape by making it clear that a perpetrator who impersonates a victim’s spouse or cohabitant (live-in boyfriend or girlfriend) in order to commit a sexual act is guilty of felony rape. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) provides the unifying vision and voice to Californians speaking out against sexual violence, including over 63 member centers. Founded in 1980, CALCASA is the only statewide organization in California with the sole purpose to promote public policy, advocacy, training and technical assistance on the issue of sexual assault. Our agency, along with CALCASA, recognizes the importance of this piece of legislation and urges you to schedule a vote on this measure.
Under existing law, felony rape can be prosecuted in cases where a victim consented to sexual activity “under the belief that the person committing the act is the victim’s spouse and this belief is induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the accused, with intent to induce the belief.”
Existing law is clearly outdated and needs to reflect the modern practice of cohabitation. Non-marital cohabitation is at an all-time high; in 2011 the United States Census Bureau reported that over 15 million unmarried individuals live together in 7.5 million households.
AB 765 will provide the same protections to victims of rape that are already provided in existing statues related to domestic violence which defines and recognizes cohabitation in order to protect individuals that suffer from domestic abuse, corporal injury, spousal abuse and spousal battery.
Unless AB 765 is enacted, a victim who submits to sexual intercourse under the belief that the offender is the victim’s cohabitant will never see justice. Unfortunately, a perpetrator that commits one of these horrendous acts can only be charged with a misdemeanor sexual battery and trespassing.
We appreciated the Committee’s discussion of the bill last year, however, we are concerned that it still has not received an up or down vote due to the Committee’s ROCA policy. We firmly believe that the justice that this bill will bring to victims of rape will far outweigh the minimal impact that it could have on the State’s prison population.
We respectfully urge you to schedule a vote on this important measure.
Cc: Katcho Achadjian, 33rd Assembly District