Articles Tagged with Chicago sexual assault attorney

tim-gouw-ScWvHUtQca4-unsplash-copy-300x200There are quite a few threads in this one. According to police, 28-year-old Jason Taylor posed as a rideshare driver to assault a woman he met on Tinder. Police say that Jason Taylor used a false identity on the app and appeared to be stalking college students

Police also say that Taylor began chatting with two Northwestern students who later refused to meet with him. He then began harassing them online. 

In the case of the woman whom he did allegedly assault, it is unclear what their interaction was prior to the event. Taylor is being questioned in connection with a number of other sexual assaults that occurred around the Evanston area and beyond. Northwestern police are asking that anyone with information come forward at this time.

An Illinois Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of an Illinois man on charges of criminal sexual abuse, finding that evidence of other sex crimes allegedly perpetrated by the defendant was inadmissible. Without that evidence, there was an insufficient basis for upholding the conviction.

People v. Puccini

The defendant, Leonard Puccini, was charged with criminal sexual abuse after allegedly spanking the bare bottom of a 12-year-old boy for his own sexual gratification. At trial, the court admitted evidence in the form of witness testimony from two older bofile000704919536ys (now adults), both of whom alleged that Puccini sexually abused them in the 1990s (though he had not pulled their pants down and spanked them).

Illinois law allows evidence of prior charges or accusations of criminal sexual abuse to be admitted at trial to show the defendant’s propensity for committing sex crimes. Evidence of other alleged bad acts is admissible only if the probative value of the evidence – meaning that the evidence will assist the jury in its determination – outweighs any potentially negative effect. The fear is that evidence of prior bad acts will sway the jury to render a guilty verdict based not on the evidence in the case, but because it paints a picture of the defendant as an overall bad person. Just because a defendant committed a prior similar act does not mean he committed the act for which he is currently charged, which is why the court must carefully consider whether the evidence will unfairly sway the jury to find the defendant guilty.

When weighing the probative value of evidence, the court must consider:

  • The proximity in time to the charged offense;
  • The degree of similarity to the charged offense; and
  • Other relevant facts and circumstances.

On appeal, Puccini’s attorney argued that the negative effect of the two witnesses’ testimony outweighed any potential benefit. No charges were brought against Puccini for the prior alleged crimes, and they allegedly occurred almost 20 years prior. In addition, the acts were not similar. The witnesses testified that, following the abuse, which allegedly involved Puccini touching their private parts, he then masturbated, thus fulfilling the “for his own sexual gratification” element of sexual abuse.

The testimony of the young boy in the present case was inconsistent on whether Puccini masturbated following the spanking. Statements he made to the police differed from what he said at trial, and his testimony that Puccini went into another room to sexually gratify himself after the spanking was not credible. The boy testified he only heard “tapping noises” in another room, and although he initially told police he thought Puccini had an erection, he admitted that he never turned around to look at Puccini after the spanking.

The Appellate Court noted that the trial court, in rendering its decision, relied solely on the testimony of the two adult males in determining Puccini’s actions were for his own sexual gratification. Yet the earlier crimes, if committed, were worse than the crime for which Puccini was currently on trial, causing the Appellate Court to rule that the prejudicial effect of the witnesses’ testimony outweighed any probative value.

Without the testimony of the two witnesses, the Appellate Court found that there was not enough evidence to support Puccini’s conviction. In this instance, the defendant cannot be retried – double jeopardy prohibits a defendant from being tried again in order for the prosecution to provide evidence it failed to produce in the first trial.  Continue reading

A Chicago woman was arrested for her role in the alleged sexual assault of a Chicago man at gunpoint. The defendant and her friend picked up the man in their car as he walked down a Chicago street and proceeded to assault him.

Male Rape Victimsfile0002062790027

Sexual assault of a man can – and does – happen. Rape is traditionally an underreported crime, even more so for men than women. But the most recent statistics indicate that 38 percent of sexual assaults occur against men by women. Other studies estimate that 1 in 10 adult males will be the victim of a sexual assault.

The word “rape” typically elicits an image of a man forcing a woman to engage in unwanted sexual intercourse. But Illinois sexual assault laws are gender neutral. Criminal sexual assault requires penetration by any object. If the woman causes the male to penetrate her, whether forcibly or through threat of force (for example, at gunpoint, which was alleged in this case), or if she uses any object to penetrate his anus (including fingers), that constitutes penetration under the law.

Criminal sexual abuse requires an act of sexual conduct by force or threat of force (again, at gunpoint would qualify). “Sexual conduct” includes touching of sexual parts. In this case, forcing the alleged victim to fondle the woman’s breasts constitutes an act of sexual conduct that could result in a charge of sexual abuse.

Defense Against Sexual Assault

Defending a charge of sexual assault against a male is no different than defending a charge of sexual assault against a female. In the above case, as in the majority of sexual assault cases, there were no eyewitnesses other than the three parties involved. Therefore, the case comes down to “he said-she said.”

Some sexual assault claims are fabricated in an attempt to retaliate against the alleged offender for some perceived transgression, or else stem from a sense of regret that the sexual conduct occurred. This is especially true in cases that begin consensually. In such cases, a careful review of the circumstances leading up to the alleged crime is necessary to determine whether the crime was fabricated as an attempt to save face, or to retaliate against the alleged perpetrator.

In the case mentioned above, where the victim willingly entered the defendant’s vehicle, it is possible the man originally intended to purchase sex. An investigation into his criminal background could reveal prior arrests and/or charges of solicitation or attempted solicitation. This, in turn, could support a defense that, after the parties engaged in consensual sex, the defendant committed an attempted robbery, and the man retaliated by filing the sexual assault claim.  Continue reading

Justia Badge