William Allen Jordan, dressed in street clothes, looked on at the conclusion of the case that preceded his. He’d soon be swapping his green sweater and jeans for an orange jumpsuit bearing the letters BCDOC, the Burlington County Department of Corrections.
New Jersey Prosecutor, Steve Eife, said “The case against Jordan reads like a fictional book.” He’d pretended he was an operative from the British Defense Ministry in order to scam Mischele Lewis.
Playing the sympathy card
Attorney, Karen Thek, attempted to impress Judge Philip Haines with efforts Jordan had made to make restitution. He handed over a cashier’s check for $4,383.00, the amount he stole from Lewis. He had pleaded guilty to the charges. Thek stressed that it was difficult for Jordan to earn the money that was required with all the negative notoriety in the press.
Ever the charmer, soft spoken Jordan tried a last ditch effort to soften up the judge before he pronounced sentence. “My attorney said it all. All I can do is apologize. My mother is in the hospital. I just want to get back to helping her and my father,” he said.
Nobody who heard him and knew the story was running for the tissue box!
The Judge pronounces sentence
Judge Haines recounted multiple prior convictions and arrests, starting with seven counts of passing bad checks, each for over $200. He cited British convictions for bigamy and sexual assault. He remarked that even the five years of prison that Jordan already served failed to deter him, and that the public needed protection from him.
Haines clearly laid out the terms the Prosecutor and Jordan had agreed upon:
Three years incarceration in the New Jersey State Penitentiary
Waiver of appeal
No contact, ever, with Ms. Lewis
Judge Haines gave Jordan credit for 130 days of jail time he’d already served. Officer Kocher approached and directed him to put his hands behind his back. Jordan complied and she cuffed his wrists. Then she quietly escorted him out of the room to the jail located just down the hallway. The irony of his jailer being a woman was poetic.
So ended Will Jordan’s personal contribution to the fight for sexual assault by fraud law.
This case was the first one that came to me after releasing my book, Carnal Abuse by Deceit. It was launched on November 20, 2013. Donna Anderson contacted me about the case less than 4 months later. Donna blogs at LoveFraud. com. She’d read and reviewed my book. She knew I’d be interested in introducing laws on this crime and advocating for victims. When Lewis complained to her about her case, she referred her questions to me.
I’d been involved in legislative changes in the past, I needed a current case in order to get traction on creating a sexual assault by fraud law because my personal case was forty years old. Lewis read my book and learned about why what happened to her should be a criminal offense. Her case was a good example for the law I’d suggested, so I agreed to help.
Donna and I were able to get press attention on the case:
A blog post I wrote attracted the attention of Michele Noberto. She’d inspired a New Jersey law that provides automatic restraining orders for sexual assault victims. Even though Lewis had applied for one and been turned down by Judge John Tomasello in an ugly example of judicial misogyny, Noberto was able to connect with the right people in the Prosecutor’s office. She found out that a temporary order had already been granted.
Assemblyman Troy Singleton, who represents Lewis’s district, noticed our press coverage and came forward to enact a law to prevent Sexual Assault by Fraud. I felt as if he’d heard my prayers!
NBC’s Dateline picked up on the story and created the episode, The Mystery Man.
Currently existing laws in NJ and the Prosecutor’s failure
I’m not convinced that the laws of New Jersey don’t already have language that could have convicted Jordan for sexual assault. But the Prosecutor, Steve Eife, insisted on charging him with sexual assault by coercion. No coercion took place. I tried to talk the Prosecutor out of going that route but he turned a deaf ear to me. Lewis agreed to his plan and the grand jury failed to indict because there was no coercion.
I spoke with Eife today about the charges he’d leveled against Jordan. I asked why he hadn’t used mental incapacity which states that an offender cannot use drugs or any other meansto alter a victim’s awareness. He insisted that referred only to actions like hypnosis, but if it was limited to “hypnosis,” the law would clearly state so. It does not.
There was clear and compelling proof that Jordan had defrauded Lewis of sex and a possibility that the Grand Jury could have indicted. For sure, they could not indict on “coercion. They indicted on the theft by fraud charge which used the exact same lies to defraud Lewis of sex as well.
I also raised the argument that deception nullifies consent, as stated in Model Penal Code. Eife argued that Model Penal Code’s Consent Provision does not apply in NJ law, yet it’s right there on page 148 of NJ’s Criminal Law Digest:
Consent is ineffective, unless otherwise provided, if it is given by a person who is induced by force, duress, or deception, or by a person who is legally incompetent or otherwise unable to judge the harmfulness of the conduct. N.J.S.A. 2C:2-10c.
Laws don’t assume. If something is not specifically stated as contradictory, it’s up to the jury to determine whether or not it applies. Eife did not give this case the opportunity it needed in order to determine whether the present language in the law can and should prosecute the use of fraud as a means of sexual assault. His failure to do so underscores the need for specific language to prosecute this type of crime.
A victory, none-the-less
Tonight, I’m celebrating a milestone for my book. It succeeded in opening society’s conversation about rape by fraud in the modern era. Today, we’re fighting for the law in one state, NJ. With input from more victims, the next state could be yours!
Romance Sams and other forms of sexual assault by fraud or deception will not stop until we make it happen. Please register with THE FORRSC to be an important part of that change!
Assemblyman Troy Singleton stepped forward to introduce legislation that will prevent “Sexual Assault by Fraud” throughout the state of New Jersey! The bill is currently sitting with the Legislative Judicial Committee who can “kill the bill” or move it on it’s way toward recognition and acceptance.
When Mischele Lewis first consulted me regarding her case against William Allen Jordan. I researched the laws in her state. The language in NJ on “Aggravated Sexual Assault” seemed to be the closest fit for the crime, but the Prosecutor charged “Sexual Assault by Coercion.” instead. The jury failed to indict because, indeed, no coercion had taken place.
The Jordan case underscores the importance of creating very clear, directed language in the law in order to prosecute offenders who con victims for sex. Countless people are defrauded this way all the time! This bill will raise society’s awareness and make that stop!
Two more cases were recently brought to my attention in NJ. A myriad of others came forward from other states. Only the penal code of Alabama and Tennessee are clear on this heinous crime.
Please make your voice heard!
It only takes half of a second to sign the Change.org petition that tells Legislators in NJ how important this issue is to you! The head of the Judicial Committee receives notice of all signatures. You do not have to be a NJ resident to sign. Please add your voice to this important cause!
Today, New Jersey. Tomorrow the world. You can help raise awareness one signature at a time!
Tonight, at 7 PM EST, NBC Dateline premieres their episode of The Mystery Man. The story chronicles a recent case of sexual assault by fraud committed in NJ. Problem is, there’s no NJ statute that makes conning a victim for sex a crime in The Garden State.
Tune in to learn more about “false personation” and how it’s used to defile and harm unsuspecting victims.
And, be sure to sign-on to the change.org petition to pass Legislation #3908, Sexual Assault by Fraud, submitted by Assemblyman Troy Singleton on November 14th. Your voice can make a huge difference!
I’ll be live-tweeting throughout the episode. My Twitter handle is @jm_short. I’ll be using the hashtags, #RapeByFraud and #Dateline.
“Thank you so much for being a champion of my cause! I am so grateful to have you in my corner and to help support me through this heinous process!”
Above is the post Mischele Lewis placed on my blog after I’d accompanied her to a hearing and posted on recent events in her case. She’d been turned down for a restraining order against William Allen Jordan, a convicted pedophile and bigamist, who had seduced her in an emotional hoax. The Judge, John Tomasello, failed to enlighten her that a restraining order was already in effect, per Nicole’s Law, a statute providing restraining orders in all sexual assault cases. Nicole’s mother saw my post and contacted me. That’s how we found out.
Lewis claimed that, along with defrauding her of sex, Jordan robbed her of more than $4,000, and impersonated an operative in the British Defense Ministry. Ultimately, Jordan pleaded guilty and allocuted to the robbery and impersonating an officer. He is scheduled to begin his three year sentence in February.
The most troubling aspects of Lewis’s case against Jordan are:
The authorities in the UK did not report deporting him to the US and place his name on Meagen’s List, which identifies sex offenders. Lewis has a teen aged daughter. Jordan has a history of child molestation.
The State of NJ failed to use their existing statutes covering aggravated sexual assault to convict Jordan. Instead they charged him with “Sexual Assault by Coercion,” which could not possible stick. Jordan had not coerced Lewis. In fact, he’d seduced her. Correctly, the Grand Jury failed to indict.
Aiding a victim
When I first met Lewis back in March of 2014, about four months after Carnal Abuse by Deceit was originally published, she was unaware of Rape by Fraud. Donna Anderson, who blogs at LoveFraud, a healing community for victims of relationships with sociopaths, had introduced us. She’d read my book, wanted to know if Lewis’s case met the criteria. and if NJ would punish the offense.
I spoke with Lewis at great length, enlightened her about the crime, researched the NJ statutes, and put an analysis together to give to the police, along with 2 copies of my book. I figured they knew far more about the laws of NJ than I, but wanted to convey that someone who knew something about it was watching and standing behind the victim.
I explained to Lewis that if NJ failed to convict on Aggravated Sexual Assault, we could gain the traction needed to introduce a sexual assault by fraud law in the state. (Jersey uses the term “sexual assault” for such cases, not “rape.”) Anderson, Lewis and I went to the police station together to file her statement.
A light appears at the end of the tunnel!
Fortunately, when the jury failed to indict based on the Prosecutor’s charge, Assemblyman Troy Singleton read the story in the news and contacted Lewis. He introduced Legislation #3908 in the NJ Assembly, Sexual Assault by Fraud, on November 13, 2014.
Assemblyman Singleton is absolutely my hero! After suffering my own personal, decades long journey through rape by fraud, spending 4 years writing my book, blogging, and advocating, I was overwhelmed with joy!
#3908, You can help!
The bill has a long way to go! It was patterned after the statute on sexual assault by fraud in Tennessee which is the broadest of such laws in the country. Media has created hysteria by characterizing the law with absurd scenarios that the statute is not designed to prosecute.
A petition seeking the passage of NJ Assembly Legislation #3908 is posted on change.org. Your voice can make a major impact on passing this bill!
Today, New Jersey…… Tomorrow, your state or jurisdiction! And give all your friends and family the link so they can sign the petition as well! http://www.chn.ge/1t7FZJu Don’t hesitate! Click now to sign!
Watch the Dateline episode on Sunday
Dateline taped Mischele’s story. I was asked to give the “legal framework,” but my section ended up on the cutting room floor. Unfortunately, introduction of the law came too late for the taping, and very little of the finished work mentions the crime of rape by fraud. Still, it will be an interesting depiction of how con artists work to embroil people, looking for love, in sexual and emotional hoaxes. I hope everyone will watch and send a note of appreciation to Assemblyman Troy Singleton, AsmSingleton@njleg.org, to thank him for his efforts and support passage of Legislation #3908, Sexual Assault by Fraud. Due to his actions, the next sexual con artist in NJ may actually get jail-time for their crime!
Rape by fraud can happen to anyone. Mischele Lewis, like everyone else, desired to have love in her life. We’re all wired by nature to do so. No one has the right to exploit our instinct to couple with either physical or emotional rape. By defrauding her of her highest emotion, and sexually penetrating her based on “false personation,” Jordan did both. He is not the only sexual predator out there. There are millions. Society needs to know and put an end to their depravity.
Watch an in-depth explanation of rape by fraud
I was recently interviewed about rape by fraud by The Woman’s Connection. Here’s the link. I hope it will enable viewers to develop a fuller understanding of the crime and its devastation.
Please join me, live on Twitter during the Dateline airing: @jm_short, hashtag #RapeByFraud and hashtag #SexualAssaultByFraud
The score is currently 1,051 “no” to 50 “yes.” The question? Should lying about yourself for sex be considered rape? This poll is being conducted by NJ.com.
It’s really troubling that so few people responding have any sense of the foulness of defrauding a person for sex. And the media is spinning it in a way that incites hysteria. Here’s my response to the offensively silly questions that have been raised on this issue on NJ.com and elsewhere.
Back in the Roman era, rape only applied if the person was a virgin and a citizen, not a slave. That was the law for years, It didn’t make it right.
Here’s your statement::
“In other words, it’d be illegal to tell someone you were a millionaire to coerce them into bed if you are actually broke.”
Sorry, but you’re misleading the public.
Here’s what they actually need to know about this law….
Several types of non-violent rape are, in fact, punishable in NJ….
When a person is slipped a drug, or under the influence of dope or alcohol, violence does not necessarily occur. When a person is underage or mentally incapable of consent,violence does not necessarily occur. All of these forms of prosecutorial rape have a common core. They are all a means that offenders use in order to vitiate a victim’s “knowing consent” over their sexual sanctity, and strip them of self determination.
In fact, violent sexual assault is the crime of “sexual assault”, not “assault,” because it vitiates the victim’s “knowing consent” over their sexual sanctity.
So violence, doping, intoxicating, coercing, sexually violating someone too young, or too mentally challenged, are all manners of sexual assault, because they ALL vitiate knowing consent. Likewise, fraud vitiates knowing consent, and when used in sex, it vitiates the victim’s knowing consent regarding their sexual sanctity.
These are the legal premises that apply:
A. “Non-consensual sex is sexual assault.” Don’t believe me? Read the It’sOnUs Pledge endorsed by President Obama.
B. Global Consent, according to Model Penal Code- “Consent is INEFFECTIVE if induced by force, duress, or deception.” Global Consent pertains to all things, (that;s why its called “global,”) not all things except sexual assault!
This law simply connects the dots between these two widely accepted legal premises. And by, the way, several states have similar laws. Tennessee and Alabama in particular, although various scenarios of rape by fraud are covered in other states as well. No one goes to jail in those states for saying they’re a millionaire when they are dirt poor.
Again, your words:
“The measure doesn’t consider sexual assault by fraud any less serious than other types of sexual assault already on the books. It could be a first degree or second degree crime depending on “the circumstances surrounding the act.” The punishment could be 10 to 20 years in prison in the former and 5 to 10 years in prison in the latter.”
Every state’s penal code establishes “degrees” for each crime. The media has incorrectly stated how that works. No one in their right mind would ever equate the nightmare of violent rape with the severity of ANY form of non-violent rape. But all forms of rape will cause the victim to feel defiled.
The DEGREE of severity will be up to the powers that be to ascribe, as is the custom for every other crime that exists in New Jersey’s penal code. And the degree of crime for this law has yet to be established.
So let’s look at who will actually be punished for committing this crime…
Will lies of “he said, she said” in which there is insufficient proof for the Prosecutor to try a case, or for the Grand Jury to indict lead to an arrest? Ridiculous! So all the silliness of getting arrested for wearing false eyelashes or Spanx is just that… silliness. A person’s appearance could never get them arrested under this law.
No one could be arrested for telling someone they are Brad Pitt’s best friend or that they will marry the person in the morning and fail to do so.
Don’t get me wrong… it’s not that this form of lying to secure sex isn’t a crime….. but there must be a level of proof that is prosecutorial in order for an arrest to be made. If you’re driving 56 in a 55 mile an hour zone, are you speeding? Sure! Will you be arrested? How absurd!
A person who lies about their intent would simply insist that they changed their mind. And lies of identity can only be pursued with sufficient proof to convince a Prosecutor, Grand Jury, and a Jury.
People who come into the room under cover of darkness and pretend to be someone they are not… the boyfriend, husband, wife, etc, of the victim, can be prosecuted.
People who engage in an elaborate hoax for which there is ample proof, can be prosecuted.
People who are told the doctor is penetrating them with a medical instrument, but inserts his man-parts instead can be prosecuted.
People who defraud a victim into thinking they are perfectly healthy when they can transmit a life altering communicable illness can be prosecuted.
Anything that is new to people will frequently meet with scorn and ridicule. This law is no different. Scorn and ridicule are often the first step toward acceptance.
Lying to sexually penetrate a victim is a defilement. Lies are not prosecutorial without significant proof. So folks can keep taking off those wedding bands, but if you do so, you should know that you are a CAD and you are defiling them, not seducing them. BTW, I keep a list of people who are reported to me for doing so on my blog, http://www.RapeByFraud.com.
Reporter, Jessica Schneider, introduced New Jersey’s newly submitted Sexual Assault by Fraud law on the CBS Evening News in NYC, last night, featuring Assembly Member Troy Singleton and myself. Here’s the link.
We need more even handed reporting like this to counter the silliness like “Will I get arrested for wearing Spanx? Afterall, I’m being deceitful about my appearance.”
So to answer a few questions from reddit and other sources….
No, if you tell a person you own a helicopter, and you really don’t, it’s unlikely a case can be made against you. It’s not that you haven’t defrauded the person, it’s just that what you’ve done is not prosecutorial.
And no, if you say, “I’m going to marry you in the morning,” but don’t, or “I’ll love you forever,” when you really don’t mean it, you are not likely to be arrested.
In response to the unnamed gentleman in the clip, the victim of the hoax that precipitated Assemblyman Singleton’s interest in this law, did indeed try to investigate the background of the offender, William Allen Jordan. He had lied to her, not only about multiple identity characteristics, he’d lied to her about his name as well. He made it impossible to check him out.
It wasn’t until they’d dated for over a year and become engaged that she learned his true identity. He was a convicted child molester and bigamist who had been deported from the UK after serving his time.
Not only had this Lothario embroiled the complaining victim, Mischele Lewis, in his scam, just days after his release, while on bail for the charges that were brought against him, he went after a new victim with a similar hoax. Some sexual predators just never learn and the only way to prevent the public from harm is to incarcerate them.
Like in all criminal court cases, the District Attorney and Grand Jury can’t frivolously charge the offender. In order to pursue a case, significant harm and considerable proof must be presented. And in cases in which the lies are of “intent,” it is all too easy to defend your position by merely claiming you changed your mind.
The cases that would more likely be cause for action are ones in which the harm was an ongoing hoax or where the offender gained access to the victim under the cover of darkness or another means of concealment. An additional benefit of this law is that it could provide justice for victims who receive life threatening communicable illnesses from predators who lie about their health.
So while the premise of the law holds true for all cases of sexual assault by fraud, duplicity invalidates consent, only substantial cases will warrant prosecution.
The “E” in e-dating could readily stand for “Easy Pickin’s!”
Gone are the days when families oversaw the courtship of the younger generation. Dowries and chaperoned strolls through the park, characteristic of the 17th century, are long gone. But Andrew G. Gardner, in his Colonial Williamsburg article, Courtship, Sex and the Single Colonist, describes that even in the era of the Puritans, one third of marriages took place with a “bun in the oven.”
Jane Austen’s day was not without scoundrels who made commitments and flew the coupe, leaving the maiden in the socially unacceptable circumstance of being unmarried and pregnant. And young men frequently sought their fortune through their matches. Love often took a back seat to pragmatism and concern for the betterment of the family.
Back then, families were less transient and people knew the character of others who lived in their village or town. A slip in behavior, bad dealings with others, was hard to suppress and marred a person’s reputation for a lifetime.
So why should we expect technology that readily transports strangers into our lives is a safe way to meet a mate? And what about our moral structure enables us to think it okay to engage in sex without thoroughly vetting our love interest?
Whatever a person tells you online could be true, or a total fabrication. And people can transport their charm through techno space as readily as if they sat beside you. What they say can be truth or fiction, depending on their moral compass. They know, if you are looking for love, you are the perfect mark.
Duping people is an art form. And the well practiced CAD is hard to spot. They can lure you with a sympathy play, by mirroring your values, by flattery, and countless other practices that erode your guard.
Some safety guidelines
I’m not saying that you should never engage in internet dating, but rather, you should do so with great caution. Here are some basic protections you should employ:
Check the photo ID of anyone you meet online. Is it unromantic? Yup… but if the person cares about your safety, they won’t be offended.
Be sure to note their age and address. Is it the same information you initially received from them? There is no excuse for a lie of identity. If they told you one, walk out the door. You will never be anything but an object to that person, no matter how charming they appear to be.
Google them. Check them out on Linked-In and their Facebook page. Do they work for a company with a web presence? The likelihood is great that if they used technology to find you, but don’t have other social technology, they are hiding something.
Don’t have a sexual relationship with anyone until you have met other people who know them. Sex is chemically bonding. Regardless how you feel about them before the fireworks, you will feel more compelled toward them afterward. It’s how the neurotransmitters in your brain work.You will be more susceptible to their lies once you’ve had sex with them which is why impostors will try to quickly sweep you off your feet. Too much, too fast is likely to be a con.
Remember that there are two sides to every story. People who parent children together, regardless of the fact that they are divorced, should get along with their ex. Not doing so should run up a red flag.
Not having a bond with parents is a pretty good indication that they are unable to bond, period. Even if a person suffered abuse, they will still feel a bond of love. While they may establish healthy boundaries, they will care about their parent’s well being. People who have no relationship with their parent are likely to be unable to bond. And they may cook up stories of abuse as a sympathy play to explain away their lack of caring.
Be mindful of the signs that people give off that indicate they have weak or non-existent emotional empathy. How do they treat the waiter? The valet? The cab driver? Have they engaged in any kind of activity for the betterment of others?
You can improve your safety in internet dating by being vigilant and recognizing that one out of 25 people are sociopaths and many more have sociopathic of character disordered traits. Don’t think falling into a predator’s path can’t happen to you.
This post initially appeared on November 14, 2014:
William Allen Jordan, who defrauded NJ resident Mischele Lewis of sex and money, took a plea deal, for 3 years behind bars, today! In addition, he’ll be required to pay $4,383 in restitution, and a $15,000 fine. He can have no contact with Lewis for the rest of his life. His sentence begins on February 6, 2015.
There’s a great deal more to the back story!
I was contacted to help Mischele because I’d authored a book about the romance scam that happened to me, Carnal Abuse by Deceit. My book was published 4 months prior to hearing about Mischele, and my intent was to raise awareness and help victims like her recover from Rape by Fraud or Deception. I was encouraged that the book, indeed, was hitting its mark and spent countless hours speaking with Mischele by phone, through emails and in person.
Putting a name on the behavior enables society to discuss and understand the problem. Up until my book launched on November 20, 2013, hardly a soul talked about or understood this defiling and heart wrenching crime.
Donna Anderson, another blogger, introduced Mischele and me. She’d read and reviewed Carnal Abuse by Deceit on her blog and reached out to me for guidance. My book had been out for about 4 months at the time.
NJ no longer uses the term “rape” in their penal code. Instead, they label such crimes as “sexual assault.” While they lack specific language to define sexual assault by fraud or deception, their “consent” definition is clear that deception negates consent.
Jordan was arrested
At Mischele’s request, I wrote an analysis of the applicable NJ laws for the police. Donna, Mischele and I all went to the precinct together to file the complaint against Jordan, and I gave the police the summary and two copies of Carnal Abuse by Deceit.Two days later, they arrested Jordan for 3rd degree sexual assault by coercion, 2nd degree robbery by fraud, and impersonating an officer.
While I dealt with determining what statutes applied, Donna worked on a story for the Daily Mail and arranged a photographer to snap pictures of Jordan’s arrest.
Jordan, a convicted child molester and bigamist, had created an elaborate con to hoodwink Mischele into a sexual and emotional relationship. He should have been listed as a sex offender on Meagan’s List. Because he was convicted in the UK, his crimes went unreported when the British authorities drop-kicked his lying butt across the Atlantic to prey on the women of New Jersey.
What I found deeply disturbing about Jordan was that he goes after women with daughters. I felt that the prosecutor should have pressed harder to put a previously convicted child sex offender, who continued to go after women with young daughters, behind bars.
The grand jury failed to indict Jordan for sexual assault by coercion because he had not coerced Lewis. Quite the contrary; he had charmed her. In fact, when I watched his behavior in the courtroom, I was surprised by his overly gracious, even solicitous, demeanor. When he pleaded a point to the judge, I was amused that he tried to persuade him with charm. But the judge was unmoved by it.
In New Jersey, “coercion” means the threat of harm, including non-violent harm toward yourself or others. Jordan never used threats to seduce Mischele. In some states, coercion also includes concealment, but not in New Jersey.
Although on Dateline, Mischele stated that the sexual assault charge didn’t prevail because Jordan was not violent toward her, that was not the case. Violence is not required to arrest for sexual assault in New Jersey. The Grand Jury failed to indict because the Prosecutor used “coercion.” The charge could not stick under New Jersey’s definition of the term. I was puzzled why the prosecutor insisted on pursuing that course and advised that it would fail. I believed that either “Sexual Assault” or “Aggravated Sexual Assault” (because Jordan committed theft crimes against her that would raise the level of the charge) would have worked.
Unfortunately, the prosecutor was aware that Mischele was in the process of securing a publisher for her story. She had read about Jordan in a book written by one of his previous wives, Mary Turner Thomas, and intended to do the same. While the prosecutor suspected her of chasing the limelight, the involvement of myself and Donna, two authors with significant blog followings and media connections, made it difficult to ignore her case entirely, Also, Mischele’s behavior, searching for a man on a site called “Established Men,” made her look like a gold-digger…. not a victim who’d evoke sympathy as a test case for sexual assault by deception.
Jordan pleaded guilty to the two remaining charges. impersonation and theft. But, as I’d warned, the grand jury failed to indict on sexual assault by coercion.”
After Jordan’s sentencing hearing, I talked with Steve Eife, the Assistant District Attorney who tried the case, about the choice he’d made. I asked him why he hadn’t charged Jordan with sexual assault, as I’d suggested. I argued that the case would have revolved around “consent” not “coercion.” I reminded him that Jordan had admitted to lying in order to defraud her of money. Those same lies defrauded her of sex.
I also reminded him of Model Penal Code’s definition of “consent” that appears in New Jersey’s criminal code….
“Consent is ineffective when induced by deception.”
Eife denied that Model Penal Code applied in New Jersey. After our conversation, I went back to my research and found those exact, specific terms in the New Jersey statutes. Even more recently, I had a similar discussion with Eife’s boss, Burlington County Chief Prosecutor, Robert Bernardi, who stated the same ignorance of the law: “We’re not a Model Penal Code state,” he said.
I challenged Bernardi to look up the consent definition in NJ Penal Code and even told him the page where the definition, using Model Penal Code’s language, was located. I never heard back from him. He’s subsequently retired.
The Ongoing Battle
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Troy Singleton took up the fight to patch the hole Jordan slipped through in the prosecutor’s mind. Although I’d been very specific to Mischele and Asm. Singleton about what was needed in the law, Mischele disregarded my advice. She was intent to prove, for her book, that she’d created the law all on her own. Instead, she created terrible backlash that sent passing this needed law back several years.
My recent release, Combating Romance Scamsdefines the basis and language for a law that can end this painful and defiling crime. It contains easily replicated wording that can be passed by every state to enlighten society and provide victims with justice! Prosecutors like Eife and Bernardi, who don’t understand what consent really means, would have a much clearer path to convict offenders.
I was recently honored to meet NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo, and to put Combating Romance Scams into his hands. I was introduced to the Governor by Assembly Member, Rebecca Seawright, who is studying this issue in order to outlaw rape by fraud or deception throughout New York.
Combating Romance Scams is available in both paperback and electronic form. When you purchase the paperback, the e-version is free, and you can lend it out to anyone you chose. By doing so, you can be an important part of spreading the word to enlighten society!
Sexual assault by fraud is a crime epidemic. If you’ve been snagged by a sexual predator or need help recovering from a romance scam, I’m just an email message away. Write to me at StopRomanceScams@yahoo.com.
A passage from the public online journal of Mischele Lewis, a rape by fraud victim from New Jersey
“Rape by deception is a fairly new concept. I know it’s setting a legal precedent out there but being the victim of such a crime, I’m certainly feeling passionate about it. No, I’m not saying that every man or woman out there who has an affair and tells their significant other that they’re single when they really aren’t should be open to prosecution when the truth comes out. But in a case like this where he lied about his entire EXISTENCE and used those lies to rob me of my sanctity, my body, my knowing CONSENT! I asked him why he didn’t tell me sooner. He said he was afraid to lose me. You think??!?
So let’s look at what Mischele says….
“Rape by fraud is a fairly new concept.” She’s says this in order to represent that she’s brought the concept to NJ. Not so fast Mischele…. you read it in my book. And it’s not new….
Socrates wrote about rape by fraud way back in the Roman era. Professor Susan Estrich wrote a book about it in 1982, called Real Rape. Several notable legal commentators have written about it, such as Law Professor Patricia J. Falk of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. There are states like TN whose penal code has existed since 1977. And my own book, Carnal Abuse by Deceit, How a Predator’s Lies Became Rape, was published in 2013, before you learned that Jordan wasn’t who he said he was.
In my book, which she not only read, but commented that she was xeroxing it for her attorney, I sincerely thank those who came before me, and upon whose convictions and knowledge my own work stands. It’s the background that lead me to help Mischele deal with her misfortune. Not only should no one ever xerox a copyrighted book, but I find it outrageous when someone fails to honor the work and efforts of others in order to self-aggrandize. I’d probably let it go if I felt she was creating a benefit in society’s awareness, but she’s doing just the opposite, and here’s why:
According to Mischele, when someone says they’re single but they’re actually married, the law should not apply. She’s wholeheartedly wrong! The law is either “it’s wrong to lie” or “it’s not wrong to lie.” There’s no middle ground here. You can’t be just a little bit pregnant! Laws are based on legal concepts and you can’t simply pick when you’ll apply it and when you won’t.
The law will not prosecute cases of “he said, she said,” because they lack significant proof. No prosecutor will act on the case. That, and not that it’s not a crime, will prevent marital cheats from facing prosecution.
Mischele is out to get a law passed for what happened to her. But she is self-serving to the detriment of other victims. And, she is totally overlooking the fact that NJ already defines sexual assault as sexual conduct without consent, and consent as ineffective if produced by force duress or deception. What is needed in NJ is Prosecutors with the cojones to do the right thing!
Coming to a victim’s aid….
Mischele was introduced to me by Donna Anderson, the author of LoveFraud, How marrying a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan. She blogs at LoveFraud.com and has helped countless people recognize and deal with the aftermath of a relationship with a sociopath. I’ve written posts for Donna’s blog, and she knew I focus on combating rape by fraud by attempting to implement laws against it. When she learned of the problem Mischele had run into, she introduced us.
I spoke with Mischele over the phone and attempted to help her understand why what had happened to her was a crime. I told her I believed that either New Jersey would prosecute Will Jordan, the guy who duped her, or their failure to do so could provide the ammunition needed to protect other victims. She asked me to go with her to the police and file a report. I researched the statutes in New Jersey, put the information together in a file, and included two copies of my book. I drove the two hours from NYC to Florence NJ, where Donna Anderson, Mischele, and I paid a visit to the police.
Two days later, William Allen Jordan, who had posed as a completely different character than his actual identity, was arrested. The charges were 2nd degree sexual assault by coercion, third degree robbery by fraud, and impersonating an officer. It was my impression at the time that the coercion charge wouldn’t stick because Allen had not threatened Lewis. Quite the contrary. He had charmed her.
Mischele discovered Jordan’s true identity through a book and other efforts by Mary, one of his former wives. Mary truly deserves accolades for going public with Jordan’s story. Her ordeal made headlines in the UK and received additional media attention. Without her book, Mischele may never have known the truth. Mischele intends to write her story and has created a public journal.
Moving forward on 3 fronts…..
There are three major problems Mischele’s case could help resolve:
First- There is a cavernous hole in Meagan’s Law which requires the registration of convicted sexual molesters. Jordan had been convicted as a pedophile in the UK, but was deported to the US with no notice to NJ authorities.
Mischele was fortunate that the Assemblyman in her area, Troy Singleton, became aware of her case. He has agreed to introduce the Assembly version of legislation to close the international gap in Meagan’s Law, requiring the registration of international offenders who come to US shores.
Second- Michele Norberto, the mother of a sexual assault victim who had been instrumental in creating a New Jersey law called Nicole’s Law, contacted me. Nicole’s Law mandates that all sexual assault victims in New Jersey are to receive restraining orders against their offenders. She had noticed an online post I’d written, describing that Mischele Lewis had been denied a restraining order against Jordan.
The Judge, John Tomasello, had assailed Lewis for being “gullible”. And he likened her to a “gold digger” because she found him on the site, “Established Men.” He claimed that if he restrained Jordan he’d have to restrain all “college students”, as if lying to seduce someone was just kids’ play.
Nicole’s law was enacted to spare sexual assault victims from further, immediate harm. Although the record shows that Mischele had been issued a restraining order back when the arrest was made, she did not learn of it until after she suffered the wrath of Tomasello. She found out because Michele Norberto stepped up and contacted the authorities after reading my post.
Third- Sexual assault by fraud has other names such as rape by deception, impostor rape, and more. I have no preference as to what legislators call it, as long as the legislation is enacted in states that need it. The act could be considered as part of “date rape” in which the actor clouds self determination with drugs or alcohol. In fraud cases, the offender uses duplicity for the same purpose.
The realities of creating such a law
The problems of submitting language on this crime are many and great. People resist the concept because they believe the premise of “lies” as sexual assault may be offensive to victims of violent assault. By way of comparison, whether you’re defrauded of money or someone smashes you over the head with a two-by-four to grab your jewelry and your wallet, you’ve been robbed. Who can pass judgment on how violated a victim feels or should feel in either case? But Mischele, in pursuing a new law for NJ, should recognize that the law already exists, and for all deception, not just the one that happened to her.
When offenders lie about their marital status, a major deal breaker with most moral adults, they break their marriage vows, embroil the victim in adultery and fornication, and commit sexual assault by fraud. The victim has the right to self-determination over with whom they engage in sex, and should never be defrauded into a choice. A married man looking for hook-ups needs to find a “consenting” adult. Obviously it limits the field, which is exactly my point. Society needs to know.
Asm. Singleton also introduced a law on Sexual Assault by fraud. I attempted to ameliorate the problem of violent rape objectors and I received this message from one of his staffers as a cc:
“We have also requested OLS to draft legislation that would make sexual assault accomplished by fraud a crime, similar to Tennessee’s rape statute, including the language suggested by Joyce Short:
“The differentiation in the law should be one of “violent sexual assault” vs “non-violent sexual assault.” Violent sexual assault would apply when the person is physically overwhelmed by the offender. Non-violent sexual assault would be sexual assault committed by doping, intoxicating, DUPING, or coercing, and sexual penetration with someone unable to consent by virtue of age or mental capacity. “”
When Mischelle saw the note she called me screaming that I had interloped on “Her Law” and that I should go back to New York. She demanded that Asm. Singleton drop that language from the bill. Doing so caused huge negative repercussions in the press. And the bill failed to pass.
While Mischele was personally dealt a heinous crime of defilement, her post dismisses the crux of why it’s a crime. Lying to a victim to engage them in sex is, indeed, a sexual assault, period. The offender has sexually penetrated a person’s body by vitiating their knowing consent. In NJ, such consent is characterized as affirmative permission and the one change that would make NJ’s law more on-point is to simply change the words “affirmative permission” to “consent.”
I do not feel it is appropriate for Mischele to stand in judgement over how victimized others are when they are defrauded of sex. Whether the perpetrator uses the same duplicity that literally charmed the pants off of her, or any other ruse, all victims of sexual duplicity are violated.
Criminal code ascribes degrees of severity
Once a criminal act is identified, it is up to law makers to apply degrees to the crime. Those degrees convey the depth of seriousness of the crime. For instance, the crime of saying you’re single when you’re married to have sex with the victim once, could be sexual misconduct in the third degree, as opposed to a more severe charge against someone who continually assaults that victim by perpetuating the fraud over many years.
Mental health professionals have determined, and common sense dictates, that the damage to the victim increases with repetition. In other crimes, repetition of offenses is acknowledged by counts. Denying that a crime was committed when this behavior happens, even once, however, discounts the entire concept of “knowing consent” and discredits that the perpetrator’s willful and intentional invalidation of consent, by their duplicity, is criminal in any instance.
In cases where further crime takes place, the initial criminal behavior raises to the level of an “aggravated” act. In Mischele’s case, the offender was additionally charged with defrauding her of money. His conduct would warrant an arrest for “aggravated sexual assault by fraud,” a felony, as opposed to a one-time hookup which might warrant a misdemeanor charge. An Israeli case of a one-time offense resulted in an 18 month sentence for the perpetrator.
Varying types of deceit
When the tall tale that vitiates knowing consent is about the identity of the actor, the victim is penetrated by someone who is a stranger to them. Identity lies are irrefutable. They are not like a lie of intent in which the offender could rebut that they simply changed their mind.
Lies of intent are difficult to prove in any fraud, but should be dealt with in sexual assault in the same way that they’re dealt on all fraud charges. The difference in fraud that robs you of your assets vs fraud that robs you of your sexual sanctity, is simply the “booty” being sought. (Please pardon the pun, I just couldn’t resist!) Why should it be more burdensome for the court to determine whether a lie of intent existed in a sexual assault by fraud case than any other fraud case? That determination is their job.
In lies of identity, a person is either 28 or 48. They can’t have an MBA from a prestigious university and also be a high school dropout. The lie of identity is definitive and conclusive. It is specifically told to vitiate the knowing consent of the victim by masking the identity of the offender.
Validation at last……
I was delighted to have worked with Mischele to get Jodan arrested. and I was happy to discuss the law with Asm. Singleton in his efforts to make a difference. Hopefully, he will act on a law that requires Prosecutors to pay attention to the language that currently exists in their penal code to bring offenders to justice. But the nonsense that the only kind of fraud that harms them is the kind that happened to Mischele is simply self-serving nonsense.
Be aware. Sexual assault by fraud can happen to anyone! Here are some things YOU can do about it……
NJ residents- Call your legislators and tell them to vote to uphold the laws on sexual consent.
Residents in other states- Contact the legislators in your state to adopt language for a Sexual Assault by Fraud law, today!
Everyone- Please contact me today if you are a victim of Sexual Assault by Fraud in any state!