Assembly Passes Legislation Expanding Rape Statutes and Allowing Survivors to Seek Justice

Speaker Carl Heastie, Codes Committee Chair Joseph R. Lentol and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas today announced the Assembly passed legislation that will expand New York State’s rape statutes, helping survivors seek justice and appropriate recognition for their trauma (A.794-E, Simotas).

“This legislation will allow rape survivors to seek justice and hold abusers accountable for their crimes,” Speaker Heastie said. “The Assembly Majority will continue working so our criminal justice system works to empower and support survivors of rape and sexual assault, and everyone seeking justice.”

“Rape is a heinous crime that impacts survivors long after the abuse,” Assemblymember Lentol said. “This change in the legal definition will ensure that our courts recognize these crimes for what they are, and will make it easier for survivors to seek the justice they deserve.”

“The importance of calling rape by its name cannot be overstated. By defining these horrific violations as ‘criminal sexual acts,’ our current law negates the experiences of survivors and fails to validate their trauma,” Assemblymember Simotas said. “This common sense legislation will correct this injustice and answer the call of survivors to ensure that what any person would recognize as rape is unequivocally called rape by the law.”

The bill passed today would remove any penetration requirement of the state’s rape statutes, and include oral sexual conduct and anal sexual conduct crimes in the definition of rape. Under current law, oral and anal sexual conduct are “criminal sexual acts,” and not recognized as rape.