ANNAPOLIS, Md - State Sen. Brian Frosh announced plans to introduce legislation in the upcoming session of the Maryland General Assembly that will criminalize the practice of people posing as others and posting personal ads soliciting strangers to commit sexual crimes against that person.
Frosh and Del. Kathleen Dumais, both Democrats, will sponsor legislation that could make false "rape me" solicitations punishable with a 20-year jail sentence. Dumais will cross-file the bill in the House of Delegates.
Frosh, who is running for attorney general, said in a release that in several recent cases, individuals have impersonated an ex-spouse or former partner when posting Internet personal ads or social media messages inviting strangers to commit acts of sexual violence against the victim.
In these ads and messages, according to the release, perpetrators typically characterize the solicited conduct as a fetish or fantasy that is welcomed by the victim. As a result, victims have been unexpectedly visited by strangers expecting violent sex, and some have been assaulted.
"Internet solicitations of sexual assault cause serious harm to innocent people," said Frosh in a statement. "We need to protect unsuspecting Marylanders from this emerging threat. Individuals should not be allowed to use the Internet as a tool to provoke sexual violence. For people thinking about posting these bogus ads, the message needs to be loud and clear: this behavior is a crime in Maryland, and it will be harshly punished."
The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault praised Senator Frosh for championing this legislation.