Historically, in many areas across the United States, it was not illegal for a person to sexually assault or rape his spouse. In some cases, the exceptions to this rule were only in cases where the couple was undergoing divorce, and had been legally separated for a certain amount of time. The laws have generally changed, and most states, Connecticut included, now have laws against spousal sexual assault.
Spousal Sexual Assault and Connecticut Law
Under Connecticut law, a person cannot force his or her spouse to engage in sexual intercourse by using threats of physical violence against the spouse or another person. The threats may be through the use of a weapon, or by the use of superior physical strength against the victim. For spousal sexual assault to occur there does not need to be complete penetration of one spouse by the other using a body part or object. Even the slightest penetration can lead to a spousal assault conviction. Spousal sexual assault is a class B felony and carries a prison sentence of between one and 20 years, in addition to a $15,000 fine.
It is important to note that the person accused of spousal assault does not necessarily need to have intended to sexually assault his or her spouse; all that is needed is the intent to have committed the act that, under the law, qualifies as a sexual assault. (See State v. Ferdinand, 82 A.3d 599 (2013).)
Sometimes, in particularly contentious divorces or custody battles, one spouse may use the spousal sexual assault law against the other spouse by making false accusations. The spouse may use these false accusations to leverage a better financial settlement in the divorce, or to make the accused spouse look like an unfit parent unworthy of custody. It is also possible for a criminal court (called a “Protective Order”), to order a spouse accused of spousal abused to stay away from a spouse of the marriage.
It can be a very emotionally, physically, and financially draining for a falsely accused spouse to try and clear his or her name. A false accusation can also lead to societal alienation or job loss because, if convicted, the falsely accused spouse may have to register as a sex offender, in addition to serving the other sentences under the law.
Contact a Hartford Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been accused of spousal sexual assault, you need a Connecticut criminal defense attorney with experience in sexual assault cases. Contact Woolf Law Firm, LLC at [[phone1]] or [[phone2]] for an initial consultation.