A 33-year-old Lake Forest man is now facing the possibility of life in prison after a jury in Santa Ana convicted him of raping 5 women and attempting to rape a sixth. According to the District Attorney, this man sexually assaulted the women after meeting them in bars, dating them or was acquainted with them, over a five-year period of time. He was convicted of 14 felony counts and multiple penalty enhancements for committing sex crimes against multiple victims, using a deadly weapon and committing crimes while out on bail on earlier charges.
In California, rape is defined as nonconsensual intercourse by means of threats , force or fraud. Rape is a felony with the following possible penalties, punishments and/or sentencing: 1) Formal probation, though typically only imposed if force or violence was not a factor; 2) Three, six or eight years in a California State Prison; 3) If the victim sustained great bodily injury, the sentence could mean an additional three to five years; 4) A maximum fine of $10,000.00; 5) Registration as a sex offender; 6) A possible strike. Sentencing enhancements can also be imposed depending upon the circumstances, as in this case where there are multiple victims, using a deadly weapon and committing the crimes while out on bail.
To be found guilty of rape, the prosecution must prove four elements of the crime. There has to have been sexual intercourse with another person; The other person was not your spouse (“Spousal Rape” is a separate crime); That the intercourse was against the will of the other person; and that the act was accomplished by one of the means above.
An accuser needs little or even no evidence to make the accusation. Unfortunately, this is why innocent people are falsely accused and/or arrested for rape. Some defenses commonly used to defend against a rape charge are: 1) False accusations. Often, sex crimes are initiated out of jealousy, revenge, anger or other motives that may stem from an emotional reaction; 2) Consent. If there is consent by both, there is no rape. If consent is given and then withdrawn, the withdrawal of consent must have been effectively communicated; 3) Insufficient evidence. If an alleged rape victim does not seek medical attention, it is possible that there would be no physical evidence. Also, if there were no witnesses and no one heard anything, then the charge is based on “he said/she said”; 4) Mistaken identity. If the alleged victim did not know the person being accused, it is possible that the victim is mistaken. Some circumstances that can contribute to mistaken identity are: pool lighting, facemasks, in-person or photograph police line-ups.
Any person being accused of rape, or any sex crime, should seek the advise of an experienced criminal defense attorney, specializing in sex crimes. In this particular case, this man should retain the services of an Orange County California Criminal Defense Attorney who is familiar with the Orange County Courts, Judges and Prosecutors. This is the best way to ensure the best possible outcome.
If you would like to know more about the law as it relates to Sexual Assault Crimes or Rape, contact Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney William M. Weinberg in his Irvine, California office at 949-474-8008 or at www.williamweinberg.com.