By Bill Parry
A Queens lawmaker is making a stand against “stealthing,” a form of sexual assault during which a partner secretly removes their condom before or during sex without the other partner’s consent. State Assemblyman Fancisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) introduced legislation last week to recognize the practice as rape in the third degree.
“Stealthing isn’t some harmless new fad — it’s rape,” Moya said. “Removing a condom without the other partner’s knowledge invalidates any consent given beforehand, and should be treated as such in our courts. The victim did not agree to the risk of pregnancy, and they did not agree to the risk of STDs. They were stripped of their autonomy the moment their violators took it upon themselves to remove the condom.”
Due to limited legal precedent and lack of clear legislation on the matter, courts worldwide have had little direction in these cases. Moya’s legislations makes it explicit in New York State’s penal law that stealthing is to be treated as rape in the third degree, similar to sexual contact without consent. Under Moya’s measure the charge would be a class E felony, with a minimum of one year and a maximum of four years in prison.
“The brave victims who have come forward to speak of their harrowing experiences have done a service to every victim that has suffered in silence, unsure and confused by the assault,” Moya said. “My bill will give our courts explicit direction for prosecuting this offense and in so doing send a clear message to every person who has committed and made light of this crime.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr