In an email sent from his legislative address late Wednesday night, Representative Brian Greene (Republican – Pleasant Grove) apologized to his fellow House members for comments he made during a committee debate Tuesday regarding Representative Angela Romero’s (Republican – Salt Lake City) HB74 – Consent Definition for Sexual Offense which more clearly defines that consent is not implied when one actor is unconscious.
“This is not a pleasant thing to even envision, if an individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious, a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape, theoretically,” Greene said, adding that “that [this scenario] makes sense in a first date scenario, but not where people have years of sexual history. It takes away the defense of implied consent or prior consent.”
Though Greene did apologize for his comments, he still stated that he was taken out of context and in the prior hours had blamed the media for perpetuating the story.
By now I am sure that all of you are aware of the media firestorm resulting from comments I made in Judiciary Committee meeting yesterday regarding Representative Romero’s HB74—Consent Definition for Sexual Offense. I deeply regret that my comments have been taken out of context causing my intentions to be misunderstood, and I am sorry for any embarrassment to this Body that my statements have caused.
Please know that I abhor sexual assault under any circumstances, including within a marriage. Currently, under Utah law, sex with an unconscious person without consent is rape. I was trying to understand how changing that statutory language by removing the element of consent might have some unintended consequences. While attempting to clarify the issue through the committee discussion, I resorted to hypotheticals, that, upon reflection, I shouldn’t have used.
From the beginning I supported the intent of this bill and voted for it as it passed unanimously out of committee. I strongly support closing any loopholes that allow offenders to evade prosecution and I believe this bill does that. I have learned a valuable lesson from this unfortunate incident and I commit to you that I will choose my words more carefully in the future. I am happy to visit with you individually if you have any questions or concerns.
Two lawmakers, replying to the email, supported Greene in his claim that the media was perpetuating the story.
“Don’t let it get you down. Media sensationalism,” said Representative Curt Oda (Republican – Clearfield) while Representative Ken Ivory (Republican – West Jordan) added that “Media taking things out of context to sell papers.”
Romero’s bill was eventually voted out of committee unanimously.