Man convicted of removing condom without consent during sex in Netherlands’ first “stealthing” trial

A Dutch man was convicted Tuesday of removing his condom during sex without his partner’s consent, in the first trial in the Netherlands for so-called “stealthing.”

However Dordrecht District Court acquitted the man of a rape charge because it ruled that 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 court said.

The suspect sent the victim texts afterwards including one that said “you will be fine,” AFP reported, citing the court.

Other courts also 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 gave him an eight-month suspended sentence for secretly removing his condom during intercourse, and ordered 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 made the state the first in the U.S. to outlaw “stealthing,” making it illegal to remove a condom without obtaining verbal consent. But it didn’t change the criminal code. Instead, it would amend the civil code so that a victim could sue the perpetrator for damages, including punitive damages.

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

In a separate case, judges cleared a 25-year-old man after finding that he had not removed a condom at any time, but had instead failed to put one on in the heat of the moment.

The Netherlands has no 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 including Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand.

2017 Yale study that found both men and women have been victims of stealthing. The researchers found that along with victims being fearful of having gotten a sexually transmitted infection or an unwanted pregnancy, they also described the experience as a “disempowering, demeaning violation of a sexual agreement.” 

AFP contributed to this report.

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