skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 151646 Find in a Library
Title: States at Odds Over Definition, Proof of Rape, Study Shows; Similar Circumstances in Sex Offenses Have Produced Contrasting Rulings
Corporate Author: National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA)
United States of America
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA)
Washington, DC 20001
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A National Criminal Justice Association review of recent court cases, State laws, and proposed legislation reveals little agreement among States over the roles of force, fear, and consent in the crime of rape and highlights difficulties in interpreting sexual assault statutes.
Abstract: In a Pennsylvania case, the victim's verbal protest against penetration was not enough for State prosecutors to win a rape conviction. In a New Jersey case, lack of consent to intercourse was sufficient to lead to a finding of criminal sexual assault. Evidence in a California case that the defendant's behavior generated fear in the victim helped win a rape conviction. Despite their differences, State rape statutes generally provide that the crime of rape can be established if there is evidence of three elements: (1) that sexual activity occurred between the defendant and the victim; (2) that the defendant used force or the threat of force to engage in sexual activity; and (3) that the victim did not consent to sexual activity. There is widespread confusion and disagreement, however, over the meaning of these three elements and their relative importance. States have even developed their own statutory terms for sex offenses, a trend that legal experts say is designed to rid sex crimes of specific "resistance and proof" connotations. Several States, including Minnesota and Utah, do not require evidence of force to prosecute and convict on a rape charge. Moreover, States treat consent and resistance differently. Recent court rulings in Pennsylvania, California, and New Jersey highlight difficulties associated with interpreting sexual assault statutes.
Main Term(s): Sexual assault victims
Index Term(s): California; Courts; Minnesota; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Rape; Sex offenders; Sex offenses; State laws; Utah
Note: Justice Research July/August 1994
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=151646

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.