Tomorrow is Truth in Romance Day! And this is our final installment of the Dust-Off Plan for Recovery from a Romance Scam. This last crucial step should have you well on your way to reclaiming your self-esteem and dignity. We’ll end with the letters “F & F.”
Celebrate Truth in Romance Day on June 15th!
Are you newly involved with a romantic partner?
Do you hope they’ve been up-front about their character and identity?
Do you know the likelihood that they’re conning you? Continue reading Truth in Romance Day Is Coming!
I’m protecting her name……
“That bastard raped me!” she cried to the young policeman with the blank expression who had attended school with her kids in the small New Jersey tourist town where she lived. He passed her on to a male detective she’d known all her life. “Record his confession on your phone and we’ll go after him,” he mocked. Continue reading Consistency- Why Catfish Laws are a MUST!
How can anyone expect to know the truth when the lies are so ordinary?
A fifty five year old widower meets an attractive New Jersey woman on OKCupid. His wife of thirty years died of an illness and after five years of grieving, and occasional dates, he’s ready to get on with his life. She was his greatest love. They were unable to have children.
He’s a college grad with a steady job, nothing flamboyant or unusual. A family man, his aging mother lives with him in the home he owns.
He notices a single woman with long dark hair and a pretty smile on the e-dating site. She’s financially self-sufficient, also a home owner, with several entrepreneurial interests and teaches music lessons. She’s had relationships with men, and a marriage that ended in divorce.
So who’s defrauding who? Both stories are perfectly plausible, but only one is telling the truth….
The man is a life-long bachelor who strings multiple women along at a time. He’s never been married and lives in his mother’s home. And oh, that college degree, it never happened.
They dated, “monogamously” for several months. When he took a week off from his job without any explanation, our heroine caught onto his penchant for simultaneously juggling multiple “relationships.”
Should she have known?
We’re often told that victims “should know”… Something should seem “off,” or that their personal vulnerabilities made them targets.
Often therapists provide months and months of therapy to unravel the mystery of why someone “chose” to become a victim, as if they fooled themselves instead of getting punked by a despicable liar who targeted and caught them in a web of deceit.
And is it a crime?
The woman had no expectations other than finding a loving person with whom she could share time and experiences. And from wanting to be loved, she became defiled.
The more mundane the lies, the more sinister the erosion of trust for the victim, because they can’t point to anything that could have signaled reality. The violation they feel can have a long reaching affect on the rest of their lives.
While the offender skips along to some new unsuspecting victim, the current one is left with heartache, a pervasive sense of deep-rooted defilement, and life-long trust issues.
Where is justice for these victims?
Hopefully, it lies in New Jersey’s legislation #3908. If you have yet to sign the change.org petition to support this law, please do so today!
Mischele Lewis, who suffered sexual assault by fraud at the hands of William Allen Jordan, (the story that caught the interest of Assemblyman Troy Singleton, and began his journey to introduce legislation,) is far from New Jersey’s only victim of this insidious crime. This law is for all victims. If you’ve suffered SexFraud in NJ, or anywhere for that matter, please let me know. We need examples of this crime for legislative hearings in the Assembly and the Senate.
Thought you might like to see how some folks respond to this defiling crime. This comment was posted on my Facebook page:
|I don’t get the story. I was waiting for something more sinister and climactic, like emptying out her bank account or something along those lines. Dating a lying loser is unfortunate but you cannot lock up people for things like that. Life doesn’t come with a warning label.|
I found it ironic that Mr. Masi could relate to the theft of the victim’ money, as if that were a major breach, but not the defilement of her sexual sanctity. I responded that some people think sex is nothing more than warm flesh and body fluids. They don’t grasp that a person’s sexual organs are a gateway to their soul. He’s far from alone in his beliefs.
Vulnerability Is Not a Crime- Rape Is!
Emotional predators often strike when people are most vulnerable. They troll e-dating sites for the perfect target… someone who’s geographically desirable and recently divorced, recently widowed, or recently went through a break up…. the more painful the better!
Their concept of geographically desirable may not be what you think. For some, it’ll be the conquest that lives around the corner. For others, distance enables them to bob and weave to avoid expectations of consistency. While they’re not with you, they’re luring the other fish they’ve hooked on their line.
Don’t signal them that you’re vulnerable!
Many rape by fraud scenarios begin as Sir Gallahad on a white stead swooping in to rescue the fair damsel. Having been through misfortune can easily make you a victim and blind you to the reality behind their charm.
They’ll ask loads of questions, and you’ll think, “Wow, this person really wants to get to know me.” And in a twisted way, you’re right.
They’ll sympathize with everything you say when you pour out your heart about your past love. That dirty dog who left you flat will be the scourge of humanity to them. After all, they’d never behave like “that” to someone they love. Problem is, when you’re dealing with an emotional predator, they’re not capable of love. They’re simply angling to win your trust.
If you provide enough information, they’ll determine what makes you tick, and then it’s easy to conjure up a hoax to reel you in. Saying the right things and becoming that person they know you’ll relate to is seductive. But defrauding a person for sex is not seduction, it’s a sexual assault.
Mischele Lewis, the victim in the recent NJ case that went to trial against William Allen Jordan, had just parted ways with her ex-husband when they met.
Successive breakups drove Lauren Lazarro of Florida into the waiting arms of a former officer on NATO vessels, raised by nuns, with a dreamy Italian accent. He lied about his age, a character distortion typical in sexual assault by fraud. While his sophisticated web presence made him appear to be an astute businessman, his sudden “illnesses” provided the means to gouge her of money.
Recent heartbreak is not the only key to vulnerability, however. A single Mom we’ll call Suki hadn’t been seeing anyone special for a couple of years before she was love-bombed by a Scottish musician. He claimed to be single and committed to creating a loving, monogamous relationship with her. Little did she know he was married and involved with a veritable smorgasbord of women, both locally and around the world.
Treachery in internet dating
Four women recently outed the Marine Reservist, Psychologist, FBI Agent who charmed them all, while married to one of them as well as another woman. He kept them all dangling on a long-distance string. His favorite fishing hole, the internet.
Finding someone you want to be with should not entail bearing your soul over past relationships. You need to be careful of the loaded question, “So how come an attractive person like you is single?” It’s meant to gauge the depths of your vulnerability.
There is nothing wrong with saying, “I prefer to discuss my romantic past with someone once I know them better.” Don’t give in to the bait, “Well, how will you know them if you don’t share your past?”
Finding someone who cares about YOU is not about prior romance. It’s about who you are. Do you have similar interests, and similar values? Do you enjoy the same music, art, food. wine, movies? Are you both into traveling, sports, and culture? What’s your compatibility factor? So share your interests, but not your romantic history, with someone you just met.
By all means, don’t lie. You’re married, divorced or single. But don’t go into the gory details of what got you this way. And make sure to check ID for anyone you meet through internet dating!
Wanting to be loved is a normal trait
Unfortunately, we will often give great leeway to people who charm us by showing they care about our previous pain. We see them as empathetic, caring individuals and we respond with trust. A person who is guileless, expects the world to lack guile as well. But it is important in the age of dating perfect strangers that we ramp up protections to keep us safe.
And if you don’t succeed, it’s just as important to recognize that being vulnerable and allowing an emotional predator into your life, is not a crime. But defrauding someone of sex is, whether your state prosecutes it or not.
Common Sense Can’t Stop Rape By Fraud
Who would suspect a man who tells you he’s educated is a high school drop out? Why would you possibly think he’s lying if he says he has no kids or is single, while his wife of 17 years is at home caring for his 3 children. What would trigger your fears when the supporting Facebook page for his business is nothing more than a scam that hides his three stretches in Attica. And when he shows you medical documents that indicate he’s healthy, why would you suspect they’re forged and he’s deliberately passing along HIV?
Yes, there are cases that sound outlandish to the viewing public…….a man tells you he’s an operative for the British Defense Ministry, a sort of, James Bond.
Who would believe such outrageous nonsense?
When you hear the “James Bond” victim’s story, her ability to plot-out his arrest, you wonder who conned whom. On national TV, she boasted about using a pocketbook spy cam to create a “sting” operation and how she lured him into the hands of the waiting police, creating fodder for her book deal. But the schemes that hoax most victims are far more compelling, insidious and heartbreaking.
A victim is a victim
Don’t get me wrong, people who get “punked” in outlandish scams deserve the same protections against sexual assault by fraud as everyone else, even though the more “out there” the tale, the more difficult it is for society to relate. But it’s the frauds that are so entirely plausible, the “honest-sounding lies,” that are even more sinister and insidious. They leave the victim feeling totally unable to protect themselves and create deeply rooted Post Traumatic Stress.
People who believe outrageous lies end up blaming themselves but recognizing that their trust was bestowed on a person who did not deserve it. A person who was raped by simple, plausible, believable character distortion; however, may never feel safe to trust again.
Lying to induce sex IS, WAS and ALWAYS WILL BE a crime. The issue over the creation of Sexual Assault by Fraud law is not whether or not a crime takes place, but whether or not our Legislators are brave enough and moral enough to protect us from a defiling act that a significant portion of their constituents believe is just their way of having fun, their right.
To them, It’s no big deal….. it’s just a little white lie.
As a Valentine’s Day gift to yourself and society, please sign the petition to Stop Sexual Assault by Fraud today! Please add your name to the growing bouquet of signatures.
Last Moments of Freedom
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
- Full restitution
- 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 means to 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!
Your Voice Matters!
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!
And please help spread the word!
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.
The fervor over this law is just plain ridiculous!
I have responded to many posts I’ve seen and wanted to share a recent one with you that appears in reaction to Joan Quigley’s article this morning in NJ.com.
Joan Quigley got it right!
I am the author of “Carnal Abuse by Deceit.” Before you tune me out for shameless promotion, please understand that my book is about rape by fraud. It is the story of what happened to me, and makes it understandable why this is a crime. I came to the aid of the victim in NJ on her issues against Will Jordan.
But do I support a law that makes every person who tells a fib or wears perfume a rapist? Absolutely not! And my take on equating “rape by fraud” with “rape by violence” is that it grossly over reaches!
Here is what I suggested and why….
- The It’sOnUS pledge clearly states “Non-Consensual Sex is Sexual Assault.” It is endorsed by President Obama.
- Model Penal Code clearly states, in its Global Consent provision….. “Consent is INEFFECTIVE if induced by force, duress or DECEPTION.”
- In every type of punishable crime of fraud, the victim gave consent, but it was ineffective consent. The perpetrator knew the consent was ineffective, even though the victim did not at the time of the action.
A law on Sexual Assault by Fraud should be created to connect the dots between these three very important and legally understood premises. No one should be violated by deception in order to get into their pants! And this includes women as well as men!
When a person lies to you in order to VITIATE your KNOWING CONSENT, they are violating you, not seducing you.
So what do we call this crime?
Yes, genetically, rape by fraud is a sexual violation which is “rape.” But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water over semantics. It does not rise to the horrific nature of the crime of violence, to overwhelm and penetrate someone’s genitalia, that most people think of as “rape.” That’s why laws have distinctions such as “aggravated” and “degrees” of severity. I offered language to the Assemblyman to include in the legislation that would make that concept absolutely clear. Leaving it out was a huge mistake.
There are many ways a person’s knowing consent can be violated: They can be physically overwhelmed through violence, by intoxication, by dope, by deceit, by coercion, by being underage or too mentally challenged to provide such consent. Every way to deprive a person of self determination over their intimate core is a physical invasion of their body, a sexual assault.
Non-violent sexual assault should not be punished to the extent that violent sexual assault should be, but it surely should be punished!
It was and is my recommendation that non-consensual sexual assault, of this nature, be considered “sexual misconduct” rather than “sexual assault.” It should apply in cases where the offender has either conducted fraud in the factum or fraud in the inducement… legal terms you will find in my book. Again, please pardon the shameless self-promotion but I wrote it for a reason…. to help people understand this crime and why it’s a crime.
On enhancements and fibs
Rape by fraud as “sexual misconduct”, in the mainstream of its use, would not punish people for appearance enhancements. People have eyes. They see the other person’s appearance. It is either pleasing to them or not. The Spanx come off before penetration! As will the padded bra or pants that are stuffed with a tennis ball. So let’s not be ridiculous about it.
It is obvious to the observer when someone wears perfume. My favorite is Boucharon. No one in their right mind would ever think that’s what I smelled like without applying it.
This crime revolves around “false personation.”
There are lies of intent as well as lies of identity used in “sexual misconduct” scenarios. When a person pretends to be someone other than who they actually are, the term “false personation” applies. (See FL criminal code on fraud.)
A lie of intent, “I’ll marry you in the morning,” could not be punished. The perpetrator could simply say, “I changed my mind.”
The burden of proof on any prosecution is the District Attorney’s. They cannot indict without the Grand Jury and the jury being on board. So while little white lies are CADdish behavior, (Carnal Abuse by Deceit,) they are not the stuff of prosecution.
Cases of “false personation,” identity characteristics that transform a person from their actual identity into someone else, is the level of crime that is prosecutorial. The victim has sex with a stranger, not the person they intended. It is defiling. It happened to me for 3.5 years. It literally changed my life.
Determination of penalty
Also, keep in mind, mental health professionals will tell you that the longer the hoax persists, the more damage the victim sustains. Instead of being defiled once, they were defiled multiple times. It is devastating to know that someone you trusted treated you this way, and that they manipulated your cooperation in what they did to you. The length of the offense can be another issue in ascribing the penalty for this crime.
The press rushed to judgement that the penalty would be equivalent to violent rape, They were incorrect. Assemblyman Singleton was leaving the discussion of penalty to the law makers and process whose job is to figure it out.
Prosecution for defrauding to spread communicable disease
Here is a tremendous benefit this law will provide…. Predators who knowingly hide communicable illness can be prosecuted under this law. There will be no more free ride when they knowingly pass along HIV or any other life-altering disease.
This law is to protect against an insidious crime. It is not to incarcerate jerks. But jerks should be fully aware that when they behave like jerks, they are violating, not seducing you. Is it offensive? Absolutely! Is it punishable? Very unlikely! There is simply not sufficient proof to build a case under this or any law.
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.
Here’s a link to a post I wrote concerning that conversation. I call it “Dumb and Dumber in Suits.”
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 Scams defines 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!