A German police officer has been convicted of sexual assault in a landmark prosecution of the act known as “stealthing”, the removal of a condom during intercourse without the consent or knowledge of your partner.
The case is believed to be the first of its kind in Germany and may have widespread implications as it sparks global debate and legal experts push for new law to be created.
The 36-year-old defendant received an eight-month suspended jail sentence and was ordered to pay $3,400 in damages after being found guilty in a local Berlin court on December 11th. He will also have to pay an additional $109 for the victim’s STI test.
The incident took place on November 18th in the defendant’s Berlin apartment according to court spokeswoman, Lisa Jani, who spoke to CNN.
After she “explicitly requested” he wear a condom, the female victim told the court that she only realized he had taken off after he had ejaculated, Jani told CNN. When she left, the victim called police to the man’s apartment where he reportedly refused to open the door.
Charges of rape were brought against the officer, but the court ruled that the intercourse itself was consensual, finding him guilty only of the lesser charge of sexual assault.
The officer told the court that he only removed the condom because it had ripped, also claiming that he did not ejaculate inside the victim, an account she denied.
The case joins others in the beginning of a global precedent.
Although this was the first such case in Germany, Canada and Switzerland are among other countries who have begun prosecuting similar acts.
In 2014 the Canadian Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling of sexual assault for a man who poked holes in a condom without the knowledge of his partner. And in 2017 another man was convicted of rape after removing a condom without consent.
The prosecution in Germany was a direct result of the country’s 2016 reform of its sexual crime laws which placed greater significance on consent in sexual assault cases.
While no similar cases have been prosecuted in the United States legal experts like Alexandra Brodsky have begun advocating for new law recognizing “stealthing” as a crime, according to CNN.
In a topic for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law Brodsky supported a new civil law calling the act “nonconsensual condom removal.”
Reaction to the story also suggests growing support for recognition of the practice as a crime.
Good. https://t.co/kS924ZuRa1— Halfric🇬🇭n American (@lenubienne) December 21, 2018
Awesome, I hope this precident gets more traction. Protected and unprotected sex are two very different acts. https://t.co/I3LTrjzld5— Disa Foshaug (@PolarAtheist) December 22, 2018
Gentle reminder: removing condoms mid-act when the other person(s) request its use is not cool. And, apparently, it's actually a crime. | German policeman jailed for condom 'stealthing'. https://t.co/pS3BjIW85I #consent #safesex— Nuno M (@NunoM12) December 21, 2018
In this case however the officer says he intends on fighting the ruling and will appeal to one of Germany’s two higher courts.