This project is one that has very strongly felt, deeply held beliefs on both sides. It is an issue that has passionate defenders, advocates on behalf of victims, many of whom have gone a long time without the justice system treating their claims as legitimate or hearing them in court. Then, on the other side, there are many voices that are strongly defending what I would call sexual freedom-the ability to make mistakes, to have bad sex, to have regrettable sex, but maybe not criminal sex.  Trying to strike the right balance to make sure the code is progressive, that it’s forward-looking, that it’s something that in 50 years people will look back on and think, “That’s a viable code today. We still can work from this code,” is a real priority of ours. At the same time, we don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves. – Erin Murphy, Associate Reporter

This project is re-examining Article 213 (Sexual Offenses) of the 1962 Model Penal Code.  Currently, the project can be divided into three parts: main substantive code that would apply to adult and child victims; contact offenses; and evidentiary and procedural recommendations, including on sentencing and collateral consequences.



Stephen J. Schulhofer

Reporter, Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault

Stephen J. Schulhofer is the Robert B. McKay Professor of Law at NYU Law. He is one of the nation’s most distinguished scholars of criminal justice and is the author of Unwanted Sex: The Culture of Intimidation and the Failure of Law (Harvard University Press).

Erin E. Murphy

Associate Reporter, Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault

Erin E. Murphy is a Professor of Law at NYU Law. Her research focuses on technology and forensic evidence in the criminal justice system. She is a nationally recognized expert in forensic DNA typing, and her work has been cited multiple times by the Supreme Court.

January Council Meeting Updates

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Groping is a crime

Matt Damon, among other men, is concerned that we are treating all acts of sexual misconduct the same. “I do believe there’s a spectrum of behavior,” he explained to Rolling Stone, in an interview that drew considerable attention. For him, that spectrum extends from...

Defining Consent

In a recent Associated Press interview, NYU School of Law professor Erin E. Murphy brings attention to the complexity of sex assault laws and the definition of consent. “Half the states don’t even have a definition of consent,” says Professor Murphy. “One person’s...

What it Means to Be “Reckless”

ALI’s Sexual Assault project will update the Sexual Offenses provisions in Article 213 of the 1962 Model Penal Code. The project will define and grade offenses based on the act—what a person does—and the person’s culpability or mental state. In order to understand the...