In 2009, Julio Morales was convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman after a house party. The night of the attack, Morales slipped into the victim’s bedroom and began having sex with her while she was asleep. When she woke up, she thought she was sleeping with her boyfriend—who was in the room when she fell asleep–but when light filtered into the room and she saw it was Morales, she began screaming for him to stop.

Here’s the victim’s take:

According to Jane, she woke up to the sensation of having sex. She was in a different position on the bed, perpendicular to the position she had been in when she fell asleep. She was confused because she and Victor had agreed not to have sex that night. When light coming through a crack in the bedroom door illuminated the face of the person having sex with her, i.e., defendant, she realized it was not Victor and tried to push him away. Defendant grabbed her thighs and pushed his penis back into her vagina. She pushed him away again and began to cry and yell. Defendant left her room; Jane locked her door and called Victor, asking him to come back to her house.

And Morales‘:

He thought she was attractive, so he kissed her on the cheek. She turned toward him, and they kissed some more. He thought she was not asleep because she responded to his kisses, but he also thought she believed he was her boyfriend. They kissed for several minutes, and he became aroused. He began to take her pajamas and underwear off, and she lifted her hips to help him. He unbuckled his belt, pulled down his pants, and began to have sex. He stopped because he felt he was betraying his girlfriend; he did not recall Jane pushing him away, and he did not try to reinsert his penis after he pulled out of her.

When he went to leave the room, it felt like someone was holding the door shut. He finally was able to open the door, and he saw his friend Tony standing outside, laughing.

To the casual observer, the case seems pretty clear cut. If you initiate sex with an unconscious person who does not know who you are and screams for you to stop, most would agree it is rape. However, based on an antiquated law, a panel of California appellate judges overturned Morales’ conviction.

Judge Thomas L. Willhite Jr., speaking for the court, wrote:

“A man enters the dark bedroom of an unmarried woman after seeing her boyfriend leave late at night, and has sexual intercourse with the woman while pretending to be the boyfriend. Has the man committed rape? Because of historical anomalies in the law and the statutory definition of rape, the answer is no, even though, if the woman had been married and the man had impersonated her husband, the answer would be yes.”

According to the judges, the prosecution in the original case argued two theories of the crime during the original trial. Prosecutors told the jury Morales should be convicted of rape because he had sex was the sleeping victim and because he impersonated her boyfriend during the sex act. Because it was unclear which theory caused the jury to convict Morales, the court ruled he should be retried and the law changed.

The law, which dates back to 1872, has been applied inconsistently over the years and will take work by legislators to get it off the books, or give unmarried victims the same protection as their married counterparts.

  • Sasha

    I wish I could unread this, I am legitimately sitting here seething.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    What an injustice to this young woman.
    Dude is a rapist period point blank, that so called law is bogus and needs to be removed from the books asap.

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    Wow, flabbergasted. Once again the law and justice are proven to be two different things that do not go together.

  • Yaenelle

    This is scarily ridiculous, unbelievable, and unfair! Basically pretending to be a husband while rape is illegal but pretending to be a boyfriend while committing the same act isn’t?! This is antiquated BS!

    “The law, which dates back to 1872, has been applied inconsistently over the years and will take work by legislators to get it off the books, or give unmarried victims the same protection as their married counterparts.” How do they decide when to apply the law?

    Regardless of your marital status, if someone has intercourse with you without your knowledge/consent it’s rape. 2013 and we’re still subject to 1872 policies as women.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    WOW….I have no words. This is THE dumbest sh…wow. Poor victim regardless if she was married or not she was still violated one should have argued HE knew he wasn’t her boyfriend. Jeez this justice system is a joke.

  • Tiffany

    This can’t be life

  • http://www.urbanexpressive.com J. Nicole

    It’s stories like this that make being a woman so scary at times. It’s really disgusting. Any man who obtains sex under this false pretense is a rapist. There should be no debate or confusion.

  • http://addassamari.edublogs.org/ Gail

    I have read several accounts of this story – I guess in the hope that my powers of decoding and comprehension had deserted me – I am still baffled because my powers of reason keeps telling me that I read it wrong…because this is so wrong on so many levels it is unbelievable.

  • Sasha

    I truly am starting to believe there is a war on girls and women. The House just blocked a bill to extend protections afforded to women under the Violence Against Women Act. Under these new provisions, immigrants (regardless of legal status) would be protected as well as LGBT women and “tribal” women (which I took to mean Native Americans). If that’s not bad enough they even took away some conditions that were already part of the law. It makes me so angry that these men in power seemingly don’t care about the well-being of women and I don’t know what it would take. Maybe their daughter, wife, sister, mother, grandmother, niece, sister-in-law, granddaughter being raped or in a situation of domestic violence is the wake up call these men will need. This shit makes me so so angry to the point of tears.

  • Mademoiselle

    @SMH Completely agree with your statement. Makes me wonder what’s stopping law makers from reviewing the laws on their books for relevancy and prejudice. It’s been 140 years with this mess on the books.

  • Kay

    Ugh. Just….ugh. I have no words for this ish. None at all. When I hear there’s a war on women in this country, I’m inclined to agree.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    Let us take comfort in the fact that this guy will most likely get convicted again when he is re-tried.

    And legislators need to listen to the appeals court and overturn that dumbass law.

  • Trisha

    This one has me speechless. It is completely ridiculous. Gracious…

  • http://theaaridan.tumblr.com TheMuseintheMirror

    Rape is rape. No ifs, ands, buts about it. This is ridiculous.

  • GlowBelle

    I had so many emotions from reading this…mostly anger and disgust with a big heaping dollop of WTF?!? This man is a rapist plain and simple…and yet the judgement went his way? Horrible.

    It is so damn difficult being a woman sometimes….

  • Anthony

    As a man I am embarrassed. I think the judge could have found something to uphold that conviction.We all know that Julio Morales is not the only man to convicted of this sort of rape in California. They better change this law this legislative session. I know for a fact that if it is not changed, some those very same judges and legislators will eventually find that women in their own families will fall victim to it.
    For that matter, gay men and lesbians could abused in this manner also.

  • Allie

    Agreed.

  • Medusa

    I don’t even get it- in what situation is having sex with an unconscious person not rape? Even if you’re impersonating her boyfriend or husband or whatever, she was fucking ASLEEP!

  • eshowoman

    The judge basically raped this woman all over again.

  • Chillyroad

    I wondered what the Violene Ageinst Womem Act was and its purpose then it became clear to me why it was drafted when I read this bit, “September 13, 1994. The Act provided $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women…” By the looks of it it sounds like a shake down. Over one billion of the people’s taxes to largely Women’s groups of dubious purpose. The only part of the Act that I can support is where illegal immigrants are concerned and that is primarily because of their illegal status in the country. Other than that this Act does nothing more than put lots of money into the pockets of professional white feminist so they can host galas and banquets (that black or other ethnic minority groups wont get invited to) and fund their spurious research on how evil and dangerous men are etc. I can’t knock their hustle.

    The Act sounds nice. It is brilliantly worded. Who wouldn’t support an Act that aims to protect women from violence? Always read the fine print and FOLLOW the MONEY.

    I think I’m going to get a Violence Against Black Children Act drafted. See if I can get a cool billion out of the government.

  • Anthony

    Imagine what men would say if a woman jumped a man in his sleep and conceived a child! Imagine the outrage over that man being ordered to pay child support for a baby that he not even aware he was making!

    This law has got to change. There is nothing right or fair about it.

  • Chillyroad

    Anthony

    Men shouldn’t have to answer for the crime of this rapist. The law is what is wrong not men.

  • Anthony

    The law was written by men and this laws literally hurts women. More to the point, I was a young man, and I know how young men often feel as if sex is the only on earth that matters, and they will do anything to put their penis inside a woman. The law needs to change but attitudes
    of young men about using women for sex need to change too.

  • Pingback: Court Overturns Rape Conviction Because 1872 Law Says Unmarried Women Can’t Get Raped « Family Survival Protocol

  • Chillyroad

    The law wasn’t written by men. Was it written by you? Jim Crow was written by men does it mean it was written by MLK or Malcolm X? Stop being disingenuous. There is nothing wrong with young men wanting sex. Stop trying to demonise what is normal and healthy for a young man. Stop trying to demonise young men and their Sexuality. There is a huge difference between a horny teen and a rapist. One wants to get laid and the other has committed a crime. But I guess in your world we must criminalise all men in order to protect women. SMDH.

  • Anthony

    Chillyroad, you really love to have an argument, don’t you? I know the difference between someone wanting sex, and someone who is willing to trick or assault someone for sex, and I think you know thw difference too. You also know that I am not suggesting that I personally wrote that law either, but I am embarrassed by the fact that the law allows people of my gender to exploit people of the other gender.

  • ChillyRoad

    “…but I am embarrassed by the fact that the law allows people of my gender to exploit people of the other gender.”

    This situation could have very well happened to same sex people. Rape isnt a crime of men against women but against aggressor against victim.

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