Force-Duress-Deception: Conflicts in Sexual Assault Laws

Force, Duress, Deception……Seems logical, right?

Friday- 3/20- According to the Associated Press- Toledo plastic surgeon, Manish Gupta, who also practiced in Michigan, was indicted for sex trafficking 20 female victims by force, fraud or coercion, and one count of illegally distributing a controlled substance. His case made front page news with the News-Herald, the Detroit Free Press, and the Sentinel Tribune.  And 24News WNWO covered the story.

Gupta is accused of drugging and assaulting escorts he hired when he traveled to medical conferences.  His medical license was revoked by the State of Ohio’s Medical Board. 

Ohio’s law states:

“Sex Trafficking: Any commercial sex act that is
compelled by force, fraud, or coercion.”

So it’s pretty clear that Ohio recognizes that forcing, deceiving or coercing someone into sex trafficking is against the law… but what about forcing, deceiving or coercing a person into sexual conduct directly with the offender, when not for trafficking purposes? And what if the offender sells sex, or has sex, with a victim who became too drugged or drunk on their own accord? The victim, under the law would neither be “forced, deceived, nor coerced.”

Here’s how Ohio’s sexual assault laws work

Keep in mind, Ohio has no legal definition for consent in its laws.

Inducing Sex by Force & Coercion:  Yup, it’s a crime.

“No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another when the offender purposely compels the other person
to submit by force or threat of force.”

Inducing Sex by Deception: Hmmm- Not so much….Only if you deceive the victim into taking a drug, intoxicant or controlled substance.

“However, for the purpose of preventing resistance, the offender substantially impairs the other person’s
judgment or control by administering any drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the other person
surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception.”

Ohio’s residents are unprotected

Under Ohio’s laws- deceiving a person into sexual conduct is not a crime… only deceiving them into taking a substance that incapacitates them is a crime when you have sexual contact with them in their incapacitated state. If they become incapacitated on their own, they are fair game.

While blurring the victim’s judgement with a drug is a crime, blurring their judgement with deception is not? In theft by fraud cases, laws use a “reasonable person” standard to determine if the offender knew or should reasonably have known that they deceived the victim into handing over their property. The same litmus test should be applied in all sexual assault by fraud cases: did the offender know or should they reasonably have known that they deceived the victim into sexual contact.

Ohio’s laws prohibit deception in administering a substance, but they fail to prohibit deception for sexual contact.

Here’s only one example of what could happen

If someone crawls into your bed in the dark of night and you think it’s your boyfriend, like what Donald Grant Ward did at Purdue University in Indiana, you’re simply out of luck. It’s just one of those legal loopholes in Ohio’s Swiss cheese umbrella they call sexual assault laws! And it’s a legal loophole that could easily be fixed by enacting the actual definition for consent into Ohio’s laws:

CONSENT is: #FGKIA- Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement, without the influence of force, duress, coercion, deception, fraud, concealment or artifice. 

Fixing the Loopholes

Donald Ward openly admitted that he intended to trick his victim, and was sure he had done so. Yet he was acquitted. He would also be acquitted under Ohio’s system of injustice.

Defining consent properly will also fix the legal loophole of selling sex, or having sex, with a person who became drugged or drunk on their own accord. They can’t possibly consent.

If you live in Ohio and want to make a difference, reach me at

Your #Consent is Critical!

For more information about how your state treats CONSENT- read 5 Star rated, Your Consent – The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault on Amazon.