There have been dramatic changes through the years in how society views marriage, gender equality and the relationship of women and men. Nowhere is this more evident than in revisions that have been made in state sex crimes laws.
At one time, the victim of a sexual assault charge in communities such as Bowling Green was usually female, and the person accused of committing the crime was a male. State criminal laws were written to protect female victims from male aggressors. Today, most states have revised their sexual misconduct, rape and other sex crimes laws to protect both male and female victims from prohibited contact by aggressors of either gender.
Another consequence of the modernization of criminal laws pertaining to sexual assault, rape and other such crimes has been the virtual elimination of the marital defense. Marital defense laws allowed a person, usually a man, charged with sexual assault to offer as a defense the fact that he and the victim were married, or separated, or going through a divorce or otherwise living apart at the time of the reported incident.
Kentucky has retained the marital defense on an extremely limited basis. State law allows marriage to be offered as a defense in cases involving an underage victim or a victim who is suffering from a mental disease or defect.
The harsh reality for someone facing a sexual assault charge filed by a spouse is the difficulty of defending against the allegations. A married individual should have the right to file a rape or sexual assault charge against his or her spouse, but a person facing false accusations may have a difficult time defending against them in court.
The complexities of sexual misconduct and other sex crimes laws, coupled with the harsh penalties that judges may impose at sentencing, mean that a person facing false sexual assault charges from a spouse or partner should seek the legal advice and guidance of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.