Man found guilty of removing condom without consent during sex in first ‘stealth’ trial in Netherlands

A Dutch man was found guilty on Tuesday of removing his condom during sex without his partner’s consent, in the first trial in the Netherlands for allegedly “stealth”.

However, Dordrecht District Court acquitted the man of a rape charge because it ruled the sex was consensual.

“By his actions, the suspect forced the victim to tolerate having unprotected sex with him. In doing so, he restricted her personal freedom and abused the trust she had placed in him,” the report said. court.

The suspect then sent text messages to the victim, including one saying “everything will be fine”, AFP reported, citing the court.

Other jurisdictions have also tackled the phenomenon in recent years. In a case in Germany, a Berlin court in 2018 convicted a police officer of sexual assault and sentenced him to an eight-month suspended prison sentence for secretly removing his condom during sex, and sentenced him to pay damages of nearly 3,100 euros to the victim. The suspended sentence was reduced to six months on an initial appeal.

In 2021, California lawmakers created the state the first in the United States to ban “stealth”, making it illegal to remove a condom without obtaining verbal consent. But that didn’t change the Criminal Code. Instead, it would amend the Civil Code so that a victim could sue the abuser for damages, including punitive damages.

In the Dordrecht case, a 28-year-old man from Rotterdam was given a three-month suspended prison sentence – meaning he won’t have to serve his sentence unless he commits another crime – and ordered to pay 1,000 euros to his victim ($1,073) in damages.

In a separate case, judges cleared a 25-year-old man after finding he never took off a condom, but did not put one on in the heat of the moment.

The Netherlands does not have a specific law against ‘stealthing’, but these were the first rulings on the practice, public broadcaster NOS said, adding that there had been similar rulings in countries like Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand.

A 2017 Yale study that found both men and women were victims of stealth. The researchers found that in addition to victims fearing that they had contracted a sexually transmitted infection or an unwanted pregnancy, they also described the experience as a “demeaning and degrading violation of a sexual agreement”.

AFP contributed to this report.

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