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Abstract

This Note argues that to fully protect victims of spousal sexual assault, the New York Legislature should codify the Liberta decision and repeal the marital exemption for all sex offenses. It outlines the history of the marital rape exemption and its evolution in New York. It discusses the Liberta decision and the barriers to effective prosecution of marital rape, such as the legal standard for "force," prosecutorial discretion in charging husbands, and gender bias in the courts. It gives policy arguments for a statutory amendment and offers a proposed statute to replace the current sex offenses section of the Penal Law. The Note concludes that victims of marital sexual assault will receive full protection under the law only when the Legislature amends the New York Penal Law to expressly criminalize marital sexual assault.

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