Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday called for the tightening of the state’s sexual consent laws, a measure he plans to include in his 2020 agenda.
The proposal addresses what Cuomo said is a loophole in the law that excludes incapacitation due to the voluntary ingestion of drugs or alcohol that limits the full prosecution of sexual assaults, including when the victim is not able to give consent to sex and the inability was apparent.
“The pervasive culture of sexual assault and abuse has gone on for too long in this country,” Cuomo said in a statement. “While New York has some of the most aggressive laws in the nation when it comes to combatting this insidious disease, a loophole in current law allows rapists to walk free and vacate their heinous crimes based on a legal technicality. Our laws must protect the people of this state — not condone rape as a punishment for consuming alcohol. With this proposal we are saying enough is enough and taking action to close this nonsensical loophole and help end the culture of abuse once and for all.”
The measure is ultimately meant to clarify both consent laws and strengthen the ability of prosecutors to advance rape cases.
The proposal was praised by Sonia Ossorio, the president of the National Organization for Women – New York.
“Every single night of the week there are women who will be targeted for rape because they are highly inebriated and vulnerable to sexual assault,” she said. “Drinking to excess is not an invitation to be raped. But the way some of our laws are written, you’d think it was. That is going to change.”