A British Man Has Been Convicted Of Rape After Removing A Condom During Sex

He has been sentenced to 12 years.

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by Georgia Aspinall |

On Tuesday, Lee Hogben, a 35-year-old man from Bournemouth, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after raping a woman in a hotel when he chose to remove the condom being used during sex. This comes months after a landmark case in Germany found a police offer guilty of sexual assault for the same crime, known popularly as stealthing.

The case saw a victim impact statement read aloud by the prosecuting lawyer, Jodie Mitchell, who explained that as her client was a sex worker, conditions of intercourse were agreed beforehand and advertised on her website. For her services, of which Hogben agreed to pay for two hours but left without paying after attacking her, she specifically states online that protection must be used at all times during sex.

‘Hogben went beyond what was consented to by removing the protection, which the complainant will say was a condition of intercourse,’ the court heard from Mitchell, 'She repeatedly protested, “I don't do that - please, no”. She tried to wriggle away but he told her to stop. He told her he had beaten people up and robbed people.'

After going to the police, Hogben was then arrested on suspicion of rape and forensic tests taken matched his DNA to a probability of one in a billion. After the complaint was made, he sent threatening messages to the woman, stating that he would kill her grandparents and have her ‘head smashed in’.

Denying the charge of rape, he was later found guilty of rape and two counts of assault by trial and sentenced to 12 years - then threatening the sentencing judge saying ‘I’m coming for you. You’ll get a shotgun in the face at night.’ He plead guilty to threatening to destroy property, disclosing private photographs, making malicious communication to a second female victim – of which little is known - and breaching a restraining order.

With dozens of previous convictions for harassment, the case raises concerns for how protected sex workers are from men with criminal records. Given that the practice of selling sex is still illegal, thousands of women within the industry are left unprotected, subject to an unregulated industry that forces them to choose between their safety and reporting violence to the police. Many sex workers have to work alone, putting them in more dangerous situations, to avoid arrest.

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‘Hundreds of sex workers a year are arrested, raided, prosecuted and imprisoned,’ said Laura Watson, spokesperson for the English Collective of Prostitutes, ‘Brothel-keeping laws are most commonly used against women working together in premises for safety. This forces people to choose between working alone or breaking the law. At a time when unemployment, benefit cuts and sanctions, lowering wages, increased homelessness, and debt are forcing more women, particularly mothers, into prostitution, why are the police persecuting and criminalising women trying to earn a living.’

While this case shows promise for progress, in that the woman’s employment and sexual history was not used against her (a low standard, but alas progress nonetheless), it also raises concerns as to how stealthing would be convicted in cases where the intercourse was not a professional arrangement. With terms of consent agreed beforehand, and reiterated online, for formal sexual services, it’s questionable whether the same reasoning that convicted Hogben by trial would be applied where consent is not explicitly discussed beforehand, more typical for women not selling sex. We can only hope cases like this set a precedent for all women victim to this horrendous crime.

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