Worrisome Precedent: Chris Wilson Sentenced

Posted by – April 10, 2013

So this is worrying: a man in the UK has just been convicted of fraud for not telling a woman he was having sex with that he was trans: Three years probation and 240 days of community service for non-disclosure with an intimate partner. Unbelievable.

And while he did also say he was 16 in order to have sex with a 15 year old – when in fact he is 22 but looks younger, as trans men often do – that is not the offense he was charged with. I don’t think anyone in the trans community would be upset if that were the case. But no, his charge was “obtaining sexual intimacy by fraud”:

Setting the sentence, judge Lord Bannatyne said he recognized Wilson did not ‘dress’ as a man in order to commit offences, but always dressed that way.

Lord Bannatyne also said Wilson never set out to deliberately harm his ‘victims’ and he would review whether Wilson had broken the terms of his probation order in April 2014.

He added: ‘These are very unusual offences. I have accepted that you genuinely feel that you are male rather than female.

‘I believe this obviously significantly reduces your culpability. I believe that this can be dealt with by the imposition of a probation order.’

That is, he didn’t get put on a list of sex offenders for life, but only for 3 years due to these “unusual offences”.

Imagine if we convicted people who didn’t admit that they were married before sex. Or if they said they had more money than they did, or a different job. Imagine.

But with trans people, the culture of discrimination allows for this prejudiced and bullshit treatment.

In the meantime: what is the punishment for an adult who lies to a minor in order to have sex? To me that’s both fraud and statutory rape, right? But I don’t know what the laws are in the UK, so someone, please fill me in.

5 Comments on Worrisome Precedent: Chris Wilson Sentenced

  1. pauldebaufer says:

    This is insane. I really can’t see how this is a crime. I can see if the age of consent is greater than 15, or 16 (as she told him she was 16, so he told her he was 16) and him being 22 there would be an actual crime. But this just doesn’t seem to me to rise to the level of a crime. It’s nuts, and scary.

  2. jadecath says:

    Disturbing indeed. The prosecution seems to have gone out of its way to make a statement that statutory rape is of no interest, but gender variation is a crime.

  3. Andie says:

    The law is very imprecise on lying, dishonesty, ignorance etc. Ignorance is no defence in law? This case, as others, becomes discriminatory simply because we all don’t tell the whole truth. Some seems relevant, some seems a hazard but not through deviousness or wrongdoing. I worried a while back about this in the context of a trans person reaching diagnosis after denial, within marriage. With this judgment, it’s a bit nearer the bone somehow. Should we be worried? Or will common sense prevail? Will it always depend on the “injured” party?
    http://www.andiesplace.co.uk/with-my-body/

  4. Joe41 says:

    I actually agree with the ruling; hear me out before you vilify me. All any transperson wants is to be seen as they are. Many in the world see transpeople as sexual miscreants or worse, and this man has perpetuated that belief. He took advantage of someone in a grievous way and deserves to be punished for that.

    All you can ask of the world is to judge you on your commitment to making your world a better place than you found it. Chris Wilson should be found lacking in that regard as he has hurt many more people than he can imagine. MTF’s using the ladies’ room will be more harshly judged as a result of his actions.

  5. helenboyd says:

    I just got sent this amazing note/clarification:

    In regards to the fellow wrongly convicted of fraud…the English laws concerning fraud & statutory rape are as follows:

    Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”), which came into force on May 1, 2004, rape in England and Wales was redefined from non-consensual vaginal or anal intercourse, and is now defined as non-consensual penile penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth. The forcing of a penis into a vagina by a female is criminalised, as it appears to be covered by section 4 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 – causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent. The maximum sentence of life imprisonment was maintained under the new Act. It also altered the requirements of the defence of mistaken belief in consent so that one’s belief must be now both genuine and reasonable (see above under common law).

    Presumptions against that belief being reasonably held also now apply when violence is used or feared, the complainant is unconscious, unlawfully detained, drugged, or is by reason of disability unable to communicate a lack of consent. The change in this belief test from the old subjective test (what the defendant thought, reasonably or unreasonably) to an objective test was the subject of some debate (see [3] and [4]), as it permits a man to be convicted of rape if he thought a person was consenting, were the circumstances thought by a jury to be unreasonable.

    Any consent of the complainant is of no relevance if he or she is under the age of thirteen.

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