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Harvey Weinstein: What is 3rd degree rape?

Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of third-degree rape. Pic credit: @ImageCollect.com/Acepixs

Harvey Weinstein received a verdict in his rape and sexual assault trial in Manhattan on Monday, with a jury finding him guilty of third-degree rape and criminal sexual assault in the first degree over allegations made by two women, Jessica Mann and Miriam Haleyi.

Weinstein, 67, was also acquitted of three of five charges, including two counts of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape.

The two counts of predatory sexual assault could each have fetched him sentences of life in prison, but instead he is now facing a sentence of five to 25 years in prison after being found guilty of the charge of criminal sexual assault.

The verdict by the Manhattan jury, composed of seven men and five women, came after testimonies by multiple victims who gave graphic details of alleged sexual assault.

However, Weinstein maintained throughout the trial that he was innocent of the charges and that the sexual acts were consensual.

Charges stemmed from allegations by Jessica Mann and Mariam Haleyi

The charges against Harvey Weinstein stemmed from allegations made against him by Jessica Mann and Miriam Haleyi.

He was found guilty of third-degree rape of the aspiring actress Jessica Mann. Mann accused Weinstein of raping her in 2013 at a hotel in New York.

Weinstein was also found guilty of criminal sexual assault in the first degree based on the allegations by Haleyi. Haleyi, a former Project Runway production assistant, accused Weinstein of using force to perform oral sex on her at his apartment in 2006.

Since the jury returned a verdict of guilty against Weinstein on the charge of third-degree rape, people have been asking what third-degree rape is and how it is different from first-degree or second-degree rape.

Here is what you need to know.

What is third-degree rape?

New York’s law recognizes three degrees of rape, namely first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree rape.

According to Section 130.25 of New York’s law, third-degree rape or rape in the third degree can happen when:

  • A person engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is unable to give consent for reasons besides that they are less than seventeen years old.
  • When a person who is 21 years old or more engages in sexual intercourse with another person less than seventeen years old.
  • When a person has sexual intercourse with another person without consent and where the lack of consent was due to factors besides incapacity to give the consent.

The maximum sentence for third-degree rape is four years in prison.

How is third-degree rape different from second-degree rape?

Second-degree rape happens when someone who is 18 years old or more engages in sex with someone less than fifteen years old or with someone who is incapable of giving consent because they were mentally disabled or incapacitated at the time.

The maximum sentence for second-degree rape is 7 years in prison.

How is third-degree rape different from first-degree rape?

Rape in the first degree is the most serious of the three categories of rape and incurs the highest prison sentence. It happens when a person engages in sex with another by “forcible compulsion” or engages in sex with some who is unable to give consent due to “being physically helpless.”

First-degree rape can also happen where the victim is less than 11 years old or where the victim is less than 13 years and the perpetrator is 18 years old or more.

The maximum sentence for first-degree rape is 25 years.

John Thomas Didymus has worked as a writer since 2010. He has written for several sites including Screen Rant and WikiHow, and his articles have... read more
John Thomas Didymus


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