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!
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.