Would Keith Raniere be guilty of ‘rape by fraud’ or ‘rape by deceit’ if he lived in certain place outside of New York?
It was an interesting question posed by a reader.
Rape by fraud 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.
It is also refer to as “rape by deception,” “rape by impersonation” or “rape by trickery”
While it is rarely prosecuted there are laws on the books in Michigan, Idaho, Tennessee, California and notably in Israel where someone who deceives another into having sex might be charged.
In Israel, a legal precedent was set by classifying sex by deception as rape 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.
Another man was convicted of fraud after having told a woman he was a neurosurgeon before she had sex with him.
In 2010, a conviction of rape by deception drew international attention when it was reported that a man deceived a woman into consensual sex by lying about being Jewish, unmarried, and interested in a long-term relationship. When the woman found out he was not a Jew but an Arab, she filed a police complaint that led to charges of rape and indecent assault.
In 2008, High Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein said a conviction of rape should be imposed any time a “person does not tell the truth regarding critical matters to a reasonable woman, and as a result of misrepresentation she has sexual relations with him.”
So suppose a man said he is a Vanguard, the most ethical man in the world.
Suppose he told a woman he tied for the state record in the 100 yard dash, was a computer programmer at the age of 4, had one of the highest IQs in the world, was noted as one of the top three problem solvers in the world, operated a successful business in the past that had 400,000 members and sold more than a billion dollars, that he was monogamous and that he had such supernatural powers he could make it rain at will.
And suppose because of these claims the woman consents to have sex with him.
The reality is that he is a conman who stole heiresses fortunes, never tied the state record in the 100 yard dash, there were no computers when he was 4, his IQ test was in reality a take-home test which no one could monitor if he cheated on it, the study that said he was noted as one of the top three problem solvers in the world was actually a study he wrote himself, his business was shut down by the New York State Attorney General, and it went bankrupt, he never intended to be monogamous and was sleeping with a dozen women at the time and his stories about his supernatural powers were purely bogus.
And all of these bogus facts were known to be bogus by him when he represented himself to the woman, but he used these to induce her to have sex with him.
Could a con artist like this be charged with rape by deception?
Probably not in New York, but were I the Vanguard, I’d be a little careful when traveling in Israel.