NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYOFFICE OF ASSEMBLYMEMBER ARAVELLA SIMOTASFor Immediate ReleaseFebruary 12, 2013Contact: Jim McFadden, 718-545-3889
Simotas Re-Introduces Bill to Toughen Rape Law
Common-sense legislation calls for justice for victims of all forms of rape
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York State Assemblymember Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) together with Lydia Cuomo, held a press conference announcing the re-introduction of the Rape is Rape bill on Tuesday. Assemblymember Simotas firstintroduced the Rape is Rape bill last session following the verdict in the Michael Penacase, in which Ms. Cuomo was the victim.While Pena was convicted of several other charges for holding Ms. Cuomo atgunpoint, threatening her life and forcibly sodomizing her, he was not convicted of thetop count of rape. As the law currently stands, a charge of rape requires an element of vaginal penetration.“Common sense dictates that what happened to Lydia in this case is clearly rape,”Simotas said.Simotas’ bill would define rape as criminal sexual conduct, rather than sexualintercourse, to ensure that rapists cannot escape facing the full consequences of their actions based on a technicality. Simotas’ proposed legislation re-defines the crimes of Rape in the First, Second and Third Degrees to include oral sexual conduct, anal sexualconduct, and aggravated sexual contact in addition to sexual intercourse as an element of these rape charges.At the press conference, Ms. Cuomo outlined her traumatic experience and thecause she has found herself at the center of—fighting for rape to be called what it truly is.“A lot of change needs to happen around rape and the word 'rape' and this is my way of doing it,” Cuomo said.