Is Stealthing Illegal? How Guys Can Get In Trouble For It
Recently, a lesser-known form of sexual assault has come to light, leaving everyone wondering if they might have ever been a victim to this sex "trend" they didn't even know existed.
The trend itself is called "stealthing," and it involves a person secretly removing a condom during sex without the consent of the person they're having sex with.
At its core, it's a deceptive form of assault that can result in serious emotional and potentially physical distress for the victim.
So if that's the case, what are the legal implications of stealthing? Can guys actually get in trouble for it, considering it's technically a form of sexual assault?
Well, one lawyer explains that it may not be that easy, but it's still possible.
Julie Rendelman, a criminal defense attorney, tells Elite Daily, "'Stealthing' in New York is not in and of itself a criminal offense."
However, Rendelman says there are some circumstances where a victim of stealthing could potentially take legal action against the person who stealthed them.
What kind of legal consequences could there be in a stealthing case?
There could be grounds for a criminal charge in a stealthing case if the stealther knowingly passed on an STI or STD to the victim, Rendelman says.
She explains further,
Though, it should be said that, for the stealther, "there are certain possible defenses, even in the case of stealthing, such as the individual had no idea he had such a disease."
Are there any other cases where a victim of stealthing may be able to seek legal remedies?
"Along with a criminal prosecution, the victim can also sue civilly for damages, especially if they were diagnosed with an STD and it can be shown that he/she got that disease from the perpetrator," Rendelman says.
Even if the stealther did not give the victim an STI, the victim could potentially file a civil suit for damages (usually monetary compensation), Jeff Swartz, an associate professor of law with the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, also tells Elite Daily.
Though, it's not certain the suit would be successful.
Essentially, the issues that arise are in relation to consent. As Swartz explains, a victim could make the argument that, in the case of stealthing, the conditions under which they consented changed.
Unfortunately, in most states, the current laws don't explicitly account for stealthing just yet.
Why are the laws currently so muddy when it comes to stealthing?
According to Rendelman, this all boils down to the fact that stealthing is still a relatively new concept.
"In terms of the law on stealthing, I think, unfortunately, this despicable behavior seems to be a fairly new trend that the legislature did not contemplate when the laws were created," she says
Zak Goldstein, a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer, tells Elite Daily,
However, as this horrendous action continues to gain exposure with the general public, it's possible we may see new legislation to reflect stealthing later on.
"It doesn't mean that these laws won't change to incorporate this behavior and other similar behaviors in the future," Rendelman says.
While each state's current laws in relation to stealthing may be different, hopefully we will continue to see changes to each state's legislation that will make it easier for victims of stealthing to come forward and take legal action against this awful act.