Gov. Hochul Signs New Law Expanding Legal Definition Of Rape In N.Y.

New York Lt Governor Kathy Hochul Visits New York City School
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 18: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks to the media after a tour in a Queens public school to view safety precautions ahead of its opening during the continued Covid outbreak on August 18, 2021 in New York City. Hochul, who will become the governor of New York State on August 24th, is replacing current governor Andrew Cuomo who is resigning following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
2:43 PM – Tuesday, January 30, 2024

New York will expand what legally is considered as rape in a court of law to include other forms of nonconsensual sexual contact.


A bill that Governor Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) signed into law on Tuesday will broaden the legal definition of rape in New York to encompass a variety of nonconsensual sexual interactions.

“Today is about to survivors, about aligning the letter of the law with the pain in their hearts,” Hochul said. 

Rape is currently defined by law as the penetration of the vagina by a penis. The term is now more broadly defined by the new law to cover non consensual oral, vaginal, and anal sex. 

During a bill signing ceremony in Albany, the governor highlighted E. Jean Carroll’s case against former President Donald Trump and stated that the new definition will facilitate rape victims’ ability to file cases against their perpetrators. 

The judge said that in Carroll’s case the jury’s decision was based on “the narrow, technical meaning” of rape in New York penal law and that, in his analysis, the verdict did not mean that Carroll “failed to prove that Mr. Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape.’”

Sexual assaults committed on or after September 1st will be subject to the new law.

“The problem is, rape is very difficult to prosecute,” Hochul said. “Physical technicalities confuse jurors and humiliate survivors and create a legal gray area that defendants exploit.”

State Senator Brad Holyman-Sigal (D-W.Va.), who sponsored the legislation, stated that the new changes will make it easier for those who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community to hold sexual assaulters accountable. 

“We can’t have our laws ignore the reality that so many New Yorkers, particularly LGBTQ New Yorkers, among others, have experienced,” he said. “Before today, many of those assaults wouldn’t be able to be classified as rape in New York state, but now we fixed that language”

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