An article in Reveal, a publication by The Center for Investigative Reporting, asserts that Mississippi and California sexual assault laws lag behind the other 48 states. The article states that the ALI Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault and Related Offenses project may help solve this issue.

Project Reporter Erin Murphy of New York University School of Law comments in the article that these laws send “a powerful message that a butt grab and a boob grab are not a funny thing,” said Murphy. “Society can condemn this behavior through criminal law and say, ‘You pay a penalty for this.’ It may be a small penalty, but you pay a penalty.”

Another ALI member, Dean Michelle Anderson of The City University of New York School of Law argues that the ALI project is necessary, since although some portions of the original Model Penal Code were forward thinking, that the sexual assault provisions are in need of review.  She believes that the debate over changing the code largely centers on how courts should think about victim consent.

Jennifer Morinigo

The American Law Institute

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