Back in March, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was intoxicated, and had become so by her own will.
According to CNN, Minnesota law criminalizes rape by a person who "knows or has reason to know that the complainant is ... mentally incapacitated."
The state statute currently defines "mentally incapacitated" as meaning "that a person is under the influence without his or her agreement." But if the victim has herself voluntarily become drunk, the rape statute doesn’t apply. It’s called the Voluntary Intoxication loophole.
New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi told Capital Tonight that New York’s rape statute is just like Minnesota’s. Her bill, S452 (A5519A), would prohibit the use of intoxication of the victim as a defense in sex crimes.
“The current statute in New York treats victims very differently in cases where the victim voluntarily consumes alcohol or drugs to the point where they become intoxicated, versus a victim who becomes involuntarily intoxicated due to the actions of somebody else,” Biaggi explained. “Under the definition of mental incapacitation, we have to make sure that it recognizes cases where a victim was voluntarily intoxicated instead of just involuntarily.”
Biaggi said the burden of responsibility should not only fall on the individual who has been raped or sexually assaulted.
“It needs to be very clear that there’s a cultural shift here where we are encouraging individuals to not rape people in the first place,” she said.