Fraud could lead to rape charge under legislation

A New Jersey lawmaker is pursuing legislation that could result in sexual assault charges if one party lies about his or her identity.

Democratic Assemblyman Troy Singleton has introduced a measure that would expand the state’s sexual assault penalties to include sex committed by fraud.

Violators would face 10 to 20 years in prison and up to a $200,000 fine for a conviction of first-degree sexual assault.

Singleton introduced the legislation after a constituent who was involved in a fraudulent relationship contacted him. Mischele Lewis says she was in a relationship with a man who falsely claimed to work for the British government.

Critics of the measure say it would be difficult for courts to uphold.

The legislation was first reported on by

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal