I write concerning necessary changes to the New York State Penal Law to redefine rape. In the wake of the mistrial on the rape charges against former New York City Police Officer Michael Pena, it is more important than ever to advance “Rape is Rape” legislation, Assembly Bill 3339 and Senate Bill S06877.
I urge you to support and pass the “Rape is Rape” bill in this legislative session. The bill re-defines the crimes of Rape in the First, Second and Third Degrees to include forcible oral and anal sexual conduct and aggravated sexual contact, in addition to sexual intercourse as an element of rape charges.
While Pena was convicted of several other charges for holding a Bronx school teacher at gunpoint and forcing her to engage in oral and anal sex, he was not convicted of the top count of rape. No verdict was reached on the rape charge despite evidence of the defendant’s semen in the victim’s underwear, redness to her genitals, eyewitness testimony and the victim’s own account of the pain of the attack.
Common sense dictates that what happened to this victim is rape. No other victim should have to suffer the indignity of being told that being forced to engage in oral or anal sex is not rape.
Thank you for your consideration and work towards securing a safer New York.