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Author Topic: Legal Question:
Phanto
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It seems that striking someone can be prosecuted as a felony, and that touching someone inappropriately sexual harassment and so on...

My question is, what exactly are the relevant laws? No one ever teaches you your legal rights 101. What do you if, for instance, some random guy gropes you? What if you are assaulted in a non-violent manner (somebody licks his finger and starts rubbing it on you)?

The last part, having someone lick their finger and start rubbing it on me, did happen to me, quite recently, so I am very interested in this issue. But it is also something important to know. If you know how to file a complaint or something, you feel the weight of the law behind you, which can mean the difference between reacting to something and controlling yourself.

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The Pixiest
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Is there a law against wet-willies?
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Stan the man
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Not any legal thing here, but I guess a "wet-willie" could be taken as General Harassment. I will look up what I can find though.

I will say this much right now. There is a lot of grey area here. Mainly because of perception. You don't even have to be the recipient of harassment to file a suit.

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Stan the man
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This site I have found to be most helpfull. It deals mainly with Sexual Harassment, though. Even has a list of links for state specific.

I'm tired. So, I will be back later to see what has progressed.

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MightyCow
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I'm not a lawyer, but according to my reading of California Penal Code, touching the sexual areas (buttocks, groin, or breasts) of another person against their will constitutes misdemeanor sexual battery.

That is almost the extent of the penal code section that I read, so I assume that specifics are left to the lawyers and judges to wrangle out.


I've been told a lot of different things, and depending on who you ask, there are lots of different assumptions and regulations. Honestly, it's really frightening, and makes me glad to have a girlfriend.

In college, a speaker came to discuss rape prevention, and told us that if two people are intoxicated, and have sex, it's rape, even if they're married and both want to have sex, because neither party is legally capable of consenting. The speaker seemed to think that this sort of thing should be prosecuted, which makes me question the motives involved.

I think that sexual crimes are horrible, and when they actually occur, should be treated with the utmost seriousness. I also think people need to realize that there's a big difference between real sex crimes, and adults being stupid and horny, and maybe regretting it later.

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Stan the man
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I believe that may be true for MI as well (the intoxicated portion). I know my mother could claim rape on my father for when she was drunk about 25 years ago (almost 26 years), but she's said she won't. She never would have said no, she said. That, and she felt it would look really awkward to tell her eldest daughter that she was going to claim rape for the time that she was conceived. Hey, all I can say is 27 years and still going strong.

This is where I said that there is a huge grey area. I hate harassment cases because of this. I agree that it is bad, don't get me wrong. It's just that there is such a huge grey area, that it is scary to even think to live these days. To think you could get sued over just looking in someone's direction.

I've had to deal with a couple of harassment cases (not as either of the parties involved, but I had to make statements). It sucks. The event in and of itself hurts the work environment, but the case itself does even more damage. They never go quietly, and then get some training on the issue. Never. Everyone has to be interviewed. Everyone has to be reminded day in, day out what happened.

The only thing is that on the first one, I had to listen to the victim (take note) of the case say a line that she never should have said. We were all out at the smoke pad, and she says "You stand at a red light long enough it always turns green." What kind of happy horse manure is that for someone who was a "victim" of a sexual harassment case to say? I honestly believed at that point that the guy she said had done it was innocent. But seeing as nothing I could do would change the outcome of the case (it was done with), I just told my boss to never put me and her on the same shift together. He had noticed the same issue I mentioned and agreed to put me on a different shift. I couldn't trust her. It took me almost 2 years to trust her again.

Edit to add: The Navy uses a Green, Yellow, and Red light policy. Green is acceptable behavior. Yellow is the grey area. And red is unacceptable.

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Edgehopper
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In the civil realm, that sort of conduct is considered offensive battery. Restatement of Torts 2d, sec. 18:

(1) An actor is subject to liability to another for battery if

(a) he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact, and
(b) an offensive contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results.

(2) An act which is not done with the intention stated in Subsection (1, a) does not make the actor liable to the other for a mere offensive contact with the other's person although the act involves an unreasonable risk of inflicting it and, therefore, would be negligent or reckless if the risk threatened bodily harm.

Sec. 19: A bodily contact is offensive if it offends a reasonable sense of personal dignity.

Someone licking his finger and rubbing it on you is definitely offensive battery, but it's difficult to get much in damages for it, or to track down the offender, etc. There's also sexual harassment lawsuits, but those are trickier to prove than battery.

Criminal laws vary more by state, so I can't look that up for you. It's probably illegal, but the police will probably look at you funny for trying to press charges.

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