NCSF Meets with Linda Fairstein, Head of the Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit
for Sexual Freedom, July 10, 2001
Contact: Susan Wright, Policy Director
1312 18th Street NW, Suite 102, Washington, DC 20036
Media Hotline: 202-955-1029
For Immediate Release
New York City The National Coalition for Sexual
Freedom recently met with Linda Fairstein, head of the Sex Crimes Unit in
Manhattan, to express concern with the District Attorneys apparent position
in the Jovanovic case that consent is not a defense to a charge of assault,
even where no significant physical injury resulted. Representatives from NCSF
who attended the meeting were Judy Guerin, Executive Director, Susan Wright,
Policy Director, and John Wirenius, Legal Director.
NCSF contends that consensual sadomasochistic practices could be prosecuted
if the traditional defense of consent, which protects conduct ranging from sex
play to sports, is removed from conduct resulting only in non-life threatening
injuries, or in injuries of similar significance. In January 1999, after
repeated attempts to meet with Linda Fairstein failed, NCSF filed an Amicus
Brief with the NY State Supreme Court Appellate Division to protest the
inclusion of "consent is not a defense to assault" in the charge to
the jury during NY vs. Jovanovic. In New York, low-level assault is defined as
reddening or bruising that lasts for several days.
In response to the concerns NCSF raised, Ms. Fairstein stated, "As
long as consenting adults agree, then this office has no problem with what
people do. In my 25+ years in the sex crimes unit, we have never prosecuted a
case in which both the participants claimed their activities were
Ms. Fairstein also agreed to allow NCSF to hold a training session for
their 40 employees on the issue of consensual sadomasochism.
"Were very pleased with Ms. Fairsteins response to our
concerns," says Judy Guerin, Executive Director NCSF. "Our meeting
will form the basis for a lasting working relationship with the New York
District Attorneys office."
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