In California, forced sex charges aren’t limited to acts involving rape with a penis but can also include acts of oral copulation by force or fear or an act of non-consensual sexual penetration with an object. Forcible penetration with a foreign object is a sex crime under California Penal Code section 289 (PC), and the offense carries serious criminal penalties, including mandatory sex offender registration.
Penetration With a Foreign Object Definition
What would ordinarily be called rape but does not involve a penis or mouth is generally charged as forcible sexual penetration with a foreign object. Under Penal Code section 289 (PC), the object does not need to be foreign to the human body itself as even a finger can count, which is sometimes referred to as “digital penetration with a foreign object” since, in this case, the term “digit” means a finger or toe. In most cases, this type of sexual penetration generally involves an actual foreign object —such as a bottle, broom, or dildo, being inserted into a genital or anal orifice.
While the law specifies “forcible sexual penetration,” any form of penetration without sufficient consent violates the law even if it was not inherently sexual, caused no bodily injury, or if no actual force was used.
Examples of Crimes Under 289 (PC)
The legal definition of forcible penetration is broad, and this law has many applications. If a frat member inserts a bottle into a passed out pledge’s anus as part of a hazing ritual, that would be sexual assault with a foreign object, even if the incident was not explicitly sexual in nature. Additionally, if a person inserted a dildo into the vagina of someone considered too mentally incompetent to consent to a sexual act, it would be a violation of the law even if no outright force was used. Similarly, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object is illegal if the individual was considered too drunk or high to consent. The same would also be true if someone inserted a dildo into the anus of someone under 18, who is still considered too young to consent under the state’s statutory rape laws.
If you aren’t sure if a particular action would violate the law, an attorney can help answer any questions you may have.
Defenses to Forcible Penetration With a Foreign Object
Like most sex crimes, these charges often come down to the victim’s word versus the word of the accused. For this reason, you can frequently fight these charges by either arguing:
- there is insufficient evidence against you
- that no sexual act occurred
- that the victim consented in a legally acceptable manor
You should never attempt to defend yourself against these charges without an attorney present because it is very easy to say something that may harm your case later on. For example, if you said you were not with the victim on the day the offense took place and police can prove otherwise, you will be seen as a liar by the police, prosecutors, and jury, so your word will hold very little weight. Similarly, consent is never a defense when minors are involved, so if you attempt to defend yourself by saying that a juvenile asked you to penetrate them with an object, this will only be used as evidence against you. On the other hand, consent can be a strong defense against allegations from a person who was sober at the time the crime occurred, so you and your attorney may agree this strategy could benefit your case.
Sometimes you may be able to undermine your accuser by showing that they have something to gain by falsely accusing you of a crime. Unfortunately, because these allegations are very ugly, it is important to only attempt this defense after speaking with your lawyer, as these claims can backfire against you by making the supposed victim look more sympathetic.
If you have been accused of violating 289 (PC), please call attorney Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 for more information and to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
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