New York lawmakers seek major expansion of state power to criminalize sexual relations

Defense attorneys alarmed by proposals to make using ‘deception’ to get sex a crime, expand definition of “unwanted touching,” and make drunk sex legally risky.

ue to pressure from activists and political figures including President Joe Biden, colleges have made it harder for students accused of sexual misconduct to show they obtained “consent” from their partners.

Lawmakers in New York are now looking to expand this effort to criminal courts.

Bills in the state Assembly (A6540) and Senate (S6200) would nullify consent if it were obtained through “deception, fraud, concealment or artifice,” meaning a person who told a falsehood or incomplete truth in the pursuit of sex could be prosecuted for sexual assault.

New York criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield faulted their wording as being unrealistic “in the real world.”

“If a guy puffs his occupation and income, it’s deception,” Greenfield blogged. “If a woman had breast augmentation surgery, or reduction surgery for that matter, it’s deception. And, of course, there’s the classic, ‘will you love me forever?'”

He asked rhetorically whether “artifice” is “just the normal game of romance, putting on one’s best look to attract someone with whom you want to have sex,” instead of rape.

David Adams

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