Let’s say Person A, an adult male, meets Person B, an adult female online. They develop a close relationship and talk on the phone on numerous occasions, but never meet in person. Finally Person B blocks Person A and ceases all communications with him.

Some months later, Person A befriends Person B on the same online service, but with a different persona. Person B does not know that the new account is really Person A, but rather, believes they are someone completely different.

Over time the new relationship grows in a similar way that the original one did. Eventually the two arrange to meet in person, and they have consensual sex.

Person A secretly records the sexual encounter in order to capture the fact that the sex was consensual but does not reveal that recording to Person B.

Several weeks to a month later Person A reveals to Person B that he is in fact the original person. Person B gets extremely angry and accuses Person A of rape.

Is that a crime?

  • 1
    It would be nice if someone would leave a comment to explain why the downvote.
    – mark b
    Sep 7, 2017 at 22:00
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    I think your question is rather long, and in the "edit" section you ask additional, different (though related) questions, which is generally frowned upon (one question per, well, question, please). I took the liberty of editing your question to focus on the main point. Feel free to ask a new question for the related questions you mentioned.
    – sleske
    Sep 8, 2017 at 14:54

3 Answers 3


In Texas, sex offenses are defined in Texas Penal Code § 21.01, et seq., and rape and kindred offenses are defined as sexual assault § 22.011 and aggravated sexual assault § 22.021.

None of those laws prohibit the conduct described (assuming adults who are not in a teacher-student relationship with full mental capacity), nor do they prohibit the video as long as there is no intent or threat to disclose it.

Of course, not recognizing that it is the same person both times in an in person meeting when they have sex is highly implausible.

  • But they never met the first time, never saw each other in video chats either, and only talked on the phone. I'm thinking that Person A may have lost 100 pounds in those 4 months.
    – mark b
    Sep 7, 2017 at 23:43
  • Ah. . . . I parsed language about "they talked about meeting, sex, etc." that looks like it has since been changed from the original question incorrectly, assuming that they'd followed through on those discussions, although it isn't material to the answer.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 9, 2017 at 2:15

UK based answer - I know your question refers to texas, but for posterity:

Under s76 of the Sexual Offences Act 2006, it is possible to commit rape by gaining consent through deception.

S76(a) (i) refers to deceiving someone as to the "nature and purpose" of the sexual act. This is probably very unlikely but it is akin to having sex with someone by telling them that its some medical procedure or something. Not relevant here.

S76(a) (ii) is when "the defendant intentionally induced the complainant to consent to the relevant act by impersonating a person known personally to the complainant."

The relevant case (I forgot the citation but its a key case) concerns a man who was invited over to a couples house, and snuck into the wife's room and had sex with her in the darkness. She didnt resist because she assumed it was just her husband. The man was found guilty of rape because the concent was gained through deception.

Now this question becomes very interesting. The man pretended to be someone the victim knew, and gained her consent because she thought he was someone else.

To what extent does having an online relationship with someone count as "personally knowing?" I would think that to personally know someone you'd have to see them at least once, in person. But maybe a court would think otherwise. Having an online relationship for a year, I can see the merits of an argument saying that it is sufficient for the purposes of "personally knowing someone"

However even if such an argument prevailed in court, the fact that person A and B are one and the same probably trumps any argument. There was no actual impersonation involved.

So the answer is no. Its not rape

But really interesting question.


In many jurisdictions: yes

Consent obtained by deception is not consent.

  • 4
    Do you have any support for that claim? Consent obtained by deception is consent in every jurisdiction I have examined and it is certainly the majority rule that sex obtained by deception can still be obtained with consent. For example, if one promises to pay $300 for sex but never intends to do so at any time, it is still not rape. Similarly, a claim that one is a war hero or a billionaire or a king does not render the sex rape. Impersonation of a current sexual partner would constitute rape in some jurisdictions (but not Texas). Of course, a lie that is also an extortion threat is rape.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 7, 2017 at 22:15
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    California has a rape-by-fraud law. I know OP is talking about Texas, but just FYI! As @ohwilleke said, it is not a law nearly everywhere else. Here's an interesting academic view of the topic: google.com/…
    – A.fm.
    Sep 8, 2017 at 12:45
  • @A.fm. Good not know. I will file that away for future reference in my head. I've read the linked paper before, but couldn't locate it and didn't recall the exception from memory.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 9, 2017 at 2:12

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