Cuomo backs ‘rape is rape’ law

cuomo
A spokesperson for Governor Cuomo said that the Governor is supportive of a bill to define forced anal and oral penetration as rape. (Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

Governor Cuomo is reportedly “supportive” of a “Rape is Rape” bill proposed by the survivor of a brutal sexual assault by an NYPD officer, according to the Daily News.

26-year-old schoolteacher Lydia Cuomo went to Albany on Tuesday to push for legislation classifying forced anal and oral penetration as rape. Cuomo was viciously attacked by a drunk off-duty police officer named Michael Pena in Inwood on August 19, 2011 while waiting for her principal to pick her up before her first day teaching at Bronx elementary school.

Pena held his department-issued 9-mm handgun to her face and threatened to kill her before raping her. The jury convicted Pena of forcing anal and oral sex, but not rape. Eventually Pena pleaded guilty to two rape charges.

Pena was convicted of predatory sexual assault, which is even more serious than rape, according to local prosecutors. Rape is currently defined as vaginal penetration.

A criminal sex act conviction, which is what Pena received, applies to anal or oral sex, and is the same level felony as rape.

Prosecutors expressed concerns that the change Cuomo is lobbying for could make it more difficult to obtain convictions, as the existing rape code requires proving penetration.

The Manhattan DA’s office is supportive of a Senate version of the bill that would remove the requirement of penetration in rape cases.

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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