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Articles Tagged with Chicago Sexual Assault Defense Attorney

marco-chilese-2sMbKyQvom4-unsplash-copy-200x300Well, in case you have not heard, and you would have to be living under a rock not to, Harvey Weinstein, the impetus for the #MeToo movement was convicted on two charges, including rape. Weinstein appeared old and battered as he painfully moved through the courtroom with the help of his walker to receive his sentence

While the conviction is chewing up all the headlines, Weinstein was also acquitted of two more serious charges. Nonetheless, he could face up to 29 years in prison. At 67 years of age, that is practically a life sentence.

Weinstein was acquitted of two counts of predatory sexual assault, each of which could have carried a life sentence. Those counts hinged on the testimony of popular Italian-American actress Annabella Sciorra, who told the jury that Weinstein had barged his way into her apartment and forcibly raped her. The testimony was supposed to provide evidence of a pattern of sexual misconduct going back several years.

mihai-surdu-DeI2BMIMDFA-unsplash-copy-300x200Both sides finished their closing arguments and the jury began deliberating on the fate of Harvey Weinstein, the once-powerful movie producer who has been implicated in hundreds of accusations of predatory sexual abuse. The judge delivered instructions to jurors to “use their common sense” which is generally good for prosecutors and bad for defendants, as common sense has a way of siding with authority in these matters. However, in this case, the judge’s directives may have echoed the closing arguments of Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno, who specializes in sexual assault criminal defense.

Nonetheless, jurors sent a note asking for the legal definition of consent and forcible compulsion and questioned why Weinstein was not charged in connection with the alleged rape of actress Annabella Sciorra.

Further instructions stipulated that jurors who found Weinstein not guilty of one count must find him not guilty of other counts, as well. The judge defined forcible sexual intercourse and predatory sexual assault, among other terms, for the jurors.

max-bender-wJx-K1b7ZLI-unsplash-copy-240x300Chicago taxi driver Mustafa Dikbas was accused of holding a woman hostage and sexually assaulting her in his taxi earlier this year. The man was later arrested in Oswego for a 2007 sexual assault that also occurred within a taxi. 

The investigation began in 2007 when a woman told police that she had been sexually assaulted on a trip from Chicago to Oswego by her cab driver. She was able to provide a description of the driver to police but did not know the name of the cab company and could not provide information on the vehicle. DNA evidence was collected and found its way into the DNA index system. 

Dikbas was arrested earlier this year in a similar assault on a 26-year-old woman in his taxi and charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and kidnapping. Dikbas’s DNA was entered into the system and turned up a match.

A Champaign police officer was charged and arraigned in Champaign County on charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, and aggravated domestic battery, according to a news report. The suspect, Jerad Gale, is alleged to have anally penetrated a 23-year-old woman and tried to strangle her by covering her nose and mouth and pressing her head into a pillow. The woman was Gale’s former girlfriend, a University of Illinois student, who went to UI police on May 5 to inform them about an alleged assault by Gale that happened on November 9, 2013. According to the Champaign county prosecutor in charge, the woman had been in a relationship with Gale from November 2012 to November 2013.43724062_51f3a21a88

Another woman came forward with allegations against Gale in Piatt County. The woman dated Gale between 2008 and 2012 and lived with him in Monticello where Gale worked as a police officer for three years. Gale was charged and arraigned on two felony counts of criminal sexual assault.

Sexual Assault in Illinois

In order to be convicted of criminal sexual assault in Illinois, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual committed an act of sexual penetration and:

  • Used force or threat of force;
  • The victim was unable to understand the nature of the act or was unable to give knowing consent;
  • The victim was a family member under 18 years old; or
  • The individual was 17 years of age or older and holds a position of authority, trust, or supervision over the victim who is between 13 and 17 years old.

For a first conviction, the crime is a Class 1 felony and carries a mandatory prison term of four to fifteen years. For a second conviction, it is considered a Class X felony and carries between six to thirty years of imprisonment. Subsequent convictions can result between thirty to sixty years or life imprisonment.

Criminal sexual assault becomes aggravated if it involves the following aggravating factors:

  • dangerous weapon;
  • bodily harm;
  • threatening the life of the victim or another;
  • commission of another felony;
  • the victim is sixty years old or older;
  • the victim is physically disabled;
  • the accused delivered any controlled substance to the victim;
  • the accused was armed with a firearm or discharged a firearm; or
  • The accused discharged a firearm during the offense that caused great bodily harm or death to another person.

Additionally, aggravated criminal sexual assault occurs when an individual commits an act of sexual penetration and:

  • the victim is eight years old or under and the accused is under seventeen years old.
  • the victim is between nine through 12 years of age and force or threat of force is involved, and the accused is under seventeen years of age; or
  • the victim is severely or profoundly mentally disabled.

Aggravated criminal sexual assault is a Class X felony and, for first convictions, carries between six and thirty years of mandatory imprisonment with possible extended terms of ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years, or a natural life term. For second or subsequent convictions, the mandatory prison term is for the accused’s natural life.

Here, Gale is accused of having caused bodily harm to one of the victims during the act of penetration as he allegedly tried to strangle her and pressed her head into a pillow. This may be considered as an aggravating factor, unless Gale can successfully prove consent as a defense.

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