Spectacular in photos, but not so pretty when it comes to protecting against Sexual Assault by Fraud!
There are 13 types of fraud identified in Chapter 37 of Maine’s Penal Code. And one of them, Misuse of Identification, is particularly revealing. It states that oral misrepresentation of name, date of birth, or any other means of identifying the person that is generally accepted as accurate and reliable, would make the offender guilty of a specific crime.
This statute enables us to see that providing oral false statements about one’s identity, when used to conduct an illicit act, is, indeed, penalized in Maine, but not when it comes to defrauding a victim of sex.
2. A person is guilty of gross sexual assault if that person engages in a sexual act with another person and:
A. The actor has substantially impaired the other person’s power to appraise or control the other person’s sexual acts by furnishing, as defined in section 1101, subsection 18, paragraph A, administering or employing drugs, intoxicants or other similar means. Violation of this paragraph is a Class B crime; [2007, c. 474, §1 (AMD).]
Arguably, this clause could enforce rape by fraud if the state would support that lies impair the victim’s ability to “appraise and control” and if fraud would be considered “other similar means.” Instead, the state of Maine prosecutes one specific type of Sexual Assault by Fraud, that of being duped into accepting a drug that could render the victim powerless against sexual contact:
A. The other person is a patient of the actor and has a reasonable belief that the actor is administering the substance for medical or dental examination or treatment; or [2007, c. 474, §2 (NEW).
Unless otherwise provided, when causing a result is an element of a crime, causation may be found where the result would not have occurred but for the conduct of the defendant operating either alone or concurrently with another cause, unless the concurrent cause was clearly sufficient to produce the result and the conduct of the defendant was clearly insufficient. [1981, c. 324, §14 (NEW).]
In every act of Sexual Assault by Fraud, the result, sexual relations, would not have occurred but for the conduct of the defendant operating either alone or concurrently with another cause. In fact, many cases of sexual assault by fraud occur alongside defrauding the victim of money or property and sometimes, even for immigration status.
Sexual relations with someone mentally incapable of consent
Administering drugs intoxicants or similar means
Engaing in sex with someone who is incapable of resisting and has not consented to the sexual act
Engaging in sex when various circumstances of authority or medical care exist
In general, Maine needs to create specific language to protect its citizens, and travelers who come to fish, hunt, swim, hike, ski, kayak, bird watch, snowboard, surf, sail and conduct all kinds of other activities, from the perils of sexual assault by fraud when they’re visiting the state.
This morning, I was happy to see Donna Anderson at LoveFraud pick up on a position that I’ve advocated for quite some time, and focused on in my book. And I did so because when people understand the chemical mechanics of romantic addiction, it makes it easier to cut the chord.
How and why brain chemistry connects us
Mother nature provided us with brain chemistry to bond us to our lover. It enables us to create offspring and cohabit with the other parent in order to provide the nurture and protections needed for their development. Love, therefore, has to be a strong and binding glue because the children of homo sapiens are the slowest to develop on the entire planet. Oxytocin, a powerful neurotransmitter in the brain, that aids in trust, love and emotions, as well as other “love” chemicals, are what separates man from beasts.
Dr. Paul Zak describes the role of oxytocin in his book, The Moral Molecule. And Scientific American refers to it as love glue. Coupled together, with our brain’s additional chemistry, they serve us as both the bait and the hook. But when we enter a relationship with a character disordered person, instead of becoming fulfilled and loved, we become damaged and at risk. The chemicals we were provided fight with our conscious awareness to keep us embedded. They begin to function as a toxic glue.
And our code of morality, which evolves over many years, together with the influence of abundant experiences, also defines how we react in romantic situations. For many of us, we develop a code of commitment to a loved one, and we feel shame when we behave out of character with our own personal code, better known as values. A crafty emotional predator can use our own inherent value system to shame us into remaining.
Fear induced bonding
There is yet another strong chemically-related bond that forms in relationships where there is trauma. Misattribution Affect has been aptly described by Dr. Kristin McKinney. When people experience heightened fear, their adrenaline starts pumping. Going through a traumatic event makes us bond with people with whom we share this circumstance. For instance, riding the roller coaster at the County Fair sparked many a relationship. If the couple wasn’t holding hands when they embarked, they were likely to be when the ride ended. As we go through the roller coaster of a relationship with an offender, even though they have caused us harm, we can feel more bonded with them.
A toxic relationship provides the pain of a constant hook. It is damaging to live with, and excruciating to walk away from.
People will often settle for the relative peace and apologetic behavior that occurs between episodes of abuse. Marriages can take place as a result of a predator’s temporary contriteness between times of turbulence. The victim can easily confuse the offer of marriage, even when made by the offender as an attempt to curtail exposure, as a sincere commitment to reform. And it is easy for a victim to be persuaded when they fall within a calm portion of the cycle of harm.
There is no way to turn, in or out of the relationship with a predator, that is not painful. Victims must surmount their fear of the pain and loss, that they associate with walking away, in order to take that necessary step.
Because of the terrible pain we feel at the loss, only through consistent and repeated harm, or the discard of the offender, do morally committed people sever a romantic relationship. In cases like Reeva Steenkamp, it’s likely that she died at the hands of her lover, Oscar Pistorius, before she reached the point at which she could free herself from her emotional bond. Pistotius’s cruelty spiraled out of control prior to her reconciling the discrepancy between her “feelings” and the reality of her predicament.
The need for No Contact
Often, even once a victim pulls away, what they feel as a deep-rooted emotional appeal, can draw them back again. They go through a period of turmoil, ruminating about their circumstance, emotionally heaping blame on themselves for not being more of this or less of that. Their brain plays the “if only I had” game as if something they did made the psychopath an aggressor. They can fall into deep depression and need to grieve their loss like grieving over the death of someone close to them. While the offender did not die, their relationship with them died. Having no contact, guards against recycling the predator’s pull and helps assure separation.
When we drink alcohol, it makes our brain feel a certain way. Abstention makes us crave the way we felt to an even stronger degree. Abstaining from a toxic relationship can produce a similar result. Unless people know the chemistry behind their craving, they are susceptible to relapse, which takes the form of forgiving.
How to know we need to go….
Once we recognize that the person is devoid of emotional empathy, getting away from them is the only way to regain our life and equilibrium. Emotional empathy is the knee-jerk reaction we have to other people’s pain or circumstance. Without it, we can’t develop a conscience. A psychopath will not change. They are wired that way. And putting oneself back onto their pathway only puts us in harm’s way.
What happens if the relationship produced a child?
Unfortunately, victims who parent with miscreants will have a lifetime of toxic behaviors to deal with. Victims must do everything possible to build the oxytocin receptors in their children’s brains, early-on, because they are especially at-risk for developing without emotional empathy. They have a pre-disposition to a genetic flaw. Modern mental health professionals tell us that approximately 4% of the world’s population is comprised of psychopaths. Not everyone who is the child of a psychopath will become one. But they are seriously at-risk of doing so. Dr. Liane Leedom constructs a pathway toward character development for children in her book, Just Like His Father.
If you are experiencing raising a child with someone you suspect of psychopathy, minimizing your own personal interaction with the other parent should be done to the greatest extent possible. Be cognizant of the chemical pulls that could cause you to feel drawn back toward their appeal. Be sure to retain sight of the harm you were dealt and live in reality. While they can exude the charm that attracted you initially, they are toxic at their core. And when they recognize you are no longer fooled by them, they can and will try everything possible to undermine you, including alienating your children. Stay smart. Seek professional guidance.
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!