Articles Tagged with sexual assault

mihai-surdu-DeI2BMIMDFA-unsplash-copy-300x200The man whose conduct lit the fire that set off the #MeToo movement will stand trial in Manhattan facing five charges relating to sex crimes. Harvey Weinstein has been accused by over 80 women of sexual misconduct and the trial promises to be a historic indictment of Hollywood culture and even American culture. 

Weinstein will face a litany of witnesses who will testify before the court and recount sexual misconduct before a jury. Some of these women will be recounting experiences from uncharged sex crimes while others will act as witnesses for crimes that have been charged. In this respect, it is similar to the strategy used by prosecutors to convict Bill Cosby of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault. 

Weinstein has maintained his innocence.

w33-zg-dnl4-rami-al-zayat-300x200Revenge porn is a crime that is gaining prominence in the age of social media. The law in Chicago took some time to catch up with the reality that some victims were being exposed to serious danger. By 2015, the state legislature had decided to write a law that set out the parameters for an effective prosecution. The leading instrument is 720 ILCS 5/11-46. At the moment revenge porn is considered to be a felony offense. In actuality, Chicago is in the minority when it comes to jurisdictions that have finally started criminalizing this type of behavior. Illinois is noted as the state with the strictest laws in this category. The crux of the offense is sharing nude or compromising images and videos of a person without his or her consent. One must have the unequivocal consent of a person in intimate images before those images can be shared.

It is entirely possible that images which are not extremely explicit can be considered to be part of a revenge porn offense. The charge can stick even if the person had originally consented to the recording of the image but was then unaware that the image was going to be distributed. Defense lawyers have argued that the definition is too wide and gives the court way too much discretion in determining what constitutes revenge porn. Chicago has different from other states in important ways as follows:

  • The intention to cause harm is not necessary for the charge to stick. All that is required is that the images or videos were distributed. Malicious intent can be an aggravating factor but its absence does not remove the charge.

Baseball Stadium Seats
According to the Chicago Tribune, a Pittsburgh Pirates infielder who was in town to play the Chicago Cubs on June 17 has been accused of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman in Chicago. The sexual assault allegation is currently being investigated by police, but the baseball player has not yet been charged with a crime. According to the police, the Chicago woman made contact with the infielder via a dating app and the two agreed to meet at his hotel room at approximately 10 p.m. The woman alleges that that he served her one alcoholic drink that caused her to black out roughly 15 minutes later, and that he sexually assaulted her while she drifted in and out of consciousness. The alleged victim had a rape kit done two days later and filed a complaint with the police 10 days after the alleged sexual assault took place. While this woman took action quickly to have a rape kit done and file a police report, it is important to know that after a sexual assault occurs there is a timeframe within which rape kits must be done and sexual assault charges must be filed in order to be effective.

Rape Kits

A ‘rape kit’, also referred to as a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK), is a sexual assault forensic exam kit that is used to collect DNA evidence from a victim’s body, clothing, and other personal belongings after a crime is committed. Rape kits are used to help sexual assault victims preserve possible DNA evidence in case they decide to report that they were attacked. During a sexual assault forensic exam the survivor will generally be examined from head-to-toe, evidence will be collected, and follow up care will be recommended. According to, rape kits can usually recover testable evidence within 96 hours of an assault. Therefore, the fact that the alleged victim in the sexual assault case outlined above had a rape kit conducted two days after she went to the baseball player’s hotel room should not have prevented DNA evidence from being collected.

file0002022362803One in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college, according to a recent study by the Association of American Universities. Despite the alarming prevalence of rape on campuses, many universities remain complacent or unresponsive in reacting to reports of rape. The aggressive White House initiatives and campaigns, led by a task force formed in 2014, have transformed the way colleges and universities respond to allegations of sexual misconduct, as well as the level of awareness among college students about rape and the culture of rape.

Ending sexual violence on campuses across the nation has been one of the Obama Administration’s most passionate policy initiatives since 2011. The Department of Education and Vice President Biden published a comprehensive guideline for universities to help them understand their legal obligations under federal law. In January 2014, the administration established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. In April of that year, the Task Force launched a public awareness and education campaign called “It’s On Us.” to further advance and galvanize efforts across the nation to prevent sexual assault. The campaign has sought “to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it.” See White House Press Release on “It’s On Us.”

Since the launch of the campaign, more than 344,400 people have taken the White House pledge, and 530 schools in 48 states currently have active It’s On Us chapters. Reports of campus sexual assault have surged in the last few years, which legal experts attributed to increased awareness and knowledge of the issue.  

file000925712800Prostitution has been called the “oldest profession in the world,” probably because it has been around since the beginning of time. Since sex is considered a trade by those involved in the industry, can it therefore be surmised that a sexual assault and battery on a person involved in the industry not be considered a true crime?

Some time ago, a Chicago Sun-Times editor by the name of Mary Mitchell ran an article stating that in her opinion, a sexual assault and battery on a prostitute is nothing more than a “theft of services,” and not a rape. It is Mitchell’s belief that in considering the sexual assault of a prostitute working in the “industry” a rape, did nothing more than minimize the act of rape of “real” victims and, therefore, an insult to those whom she labeled as “real” victims. It begs the question whether Mitchell would also not consider a wife who had been raped by her husband, a “real” victim.

Mitchell proceeded to blame the victim for the assault, because, in her opinion, the very nature of the sex industry meant that the victim was agreeing to exchange sex for money, and by doing so, she also accepted any risk involved. Is she right? See HuffPost Chicago for more on this story.

When doctor/patient relationships get a little too close, sometimes bizarre things can happen. Take for example, the case of Dr. David Newman, an emergency room physician at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Dr. Newman is accused of drugging a patient and then ejaculating onto the patient’s face. If that is not bizarre enough, his defense should qualify him for admittance into the Guinness Book of Records under “strange and untenable” defenses used in the commission of a crime. See HuffPost Crime and ABC7 Eyewitness News for the complete story.

After Dr. Newman’s unprofessional emergency room behavior came to light, there have been three other accusations of acts of sexual assault and battery committed by Dr. Newman on his patients after they had been drugged.

Since When Did Sexual Assault Become Part of the Care and Treatment of Patients?

Rape and sexual assaults are crimes punishable by long prison sentences and with the “Mark of Cain” following the accused for the rest of his or her life. It can be a destroyer of reputations, and sometimes, of life. But what happens to the accused when the accusation proves to be false?

Rape and Rumors of Rape

In 2014, Rolling Stone Magazine published a story about a horrific 2012 gang rape of a University of Virginia freshman. The article was supposed to expose underreported rape and sexual assaults on campuses and what, if anything, college administrators and society as a whole was doing about it. Members of the fraternity where the alleged rape was supposed to have taken place were all painted with a broad brush as “rapists.” Conversations and debates about this problem went viral, but as it did, more and more people began to question certain facts about the case and the real motive behind Rolling Stone Magazine’s reporting of it. Under intense scrutiny, the facts, or lack thereof, that precipitated the writing of the article eventually fell apart, and Rolling Stone Magazine retracted the story. Its editor left the magazine with the dark cloud of journalistic malpractice following him out the door. See for details about this story.

Pop quiz: If suspected of committing a crime such as sexual assault, when should you talk to an attorney, before or after interrogation? Some people charged with a crime think they know the answer to this question, but sadly, many find out too late that they did not.

Police officers are required to advise you of your Constitutional “right to counsel” (Mirandized) before they start questioning you after an arrest. If you state at any time during the process that you want to exercise your right to counsel, the interrogation must stop and you will be permitted to talk to your attorney. If you do not ask to speak to an attorney, the interrogation will continue and anything you say can be used against you during a trial, if any.

There are some crimes that carry with them such a stigma that once accused, the taint sticks whether the accusation can be proven or not, such is the accusation of “sexual assault.” Notwithstanding the fact that there are many actual, provable cases of criminal sexual assault, for instance, the case where the Rabbi admitted sexually assaulting a young boy who was member of his synagogue (see, there are far too many where the accusation, without more, becomes the basis for the conviction.

A Buffalo Grove woman reported being awoken in her bed at 4 in the morning to a strange man straddling her in what police are calling an attempted sexual assault.  The woman allegedly fought the man off, and he escaped through a patio door. No arrests have yet to be made.


Defense Against Illinois Attempted Sexual Assault

While there is currently no suspect in the case and no charges have been filed, this case is an excellent example of many issues that arise in home invasion and sexual assault cases, and illustrates the importance of hiring an experienced Chicago sex crimes attorney. An acquittal in a case like this depends on the criminal defense attorney’s ability to show the jury how the prosecution’s evidence does not rise to the level of reasonable doubt.

Chicago sexual assault attorney David L. Freidberg has more than 17 years of experience handling all types of sex crimes cases, and knows what it takes to win an acquittal or achieve a reduction in charges. Issues that David L. Freidberg and his team of forensic experts would examine in an attempt to pick apart the prosecution’s case include:

Identification of suspect. The woman was awakened from a deep sleep at 4 in the morning. Groggy from sleep and seeing the alleged assailant in the dark make any identification from a police lineup questionable, as she only had a brief, darkened view of him. Her description of him to the police was extremely generic, with no real identifying characteristics that could distinguish him from any other white male of similar age and build.

Lack of forced entry. The suspect allegedly escaped through an open patio door; there were seemingly no signs of forced entry. The lack of forced entry raises doubts that this was a home invasion. Perhaps the alleged victim had invited the man in to her home earlier that evening, and then changed her mind and kicked him out because she has a boyfriend, fiancé or husband and felt guilty or got caught. Claiming home invasion and attempted sexual assault was a means to avoid their anger.

Earlier home invasion in the neighborhood. Police reported that a similar home invasion (minus the attempted sexual assault) occurred a month ago in the same condominium complex. It is possible that this was the work of the same individual, and perhaps he was upping his game. Or, going along with the scenario that the alleged victim was trying to save face, it could be that she was aware of the prior home invasion and tacked that on to her story of attempted sexual assault, thinking it would make her story sound more believable.

Lack of physical evidence. Because there was no sexual assault, there is likely no DNA evidence that can tie any future suspect to the attack. Even if a DNA sample can link the suspect, the presence of DNA in the form of semen only proves that sexual intercourse happened. It does not prove the sex was non-consensual.

David L. Freidberg would thoroughly examine the evidence to see if these and any other issues could be raised to cast doubt on the victim’s story and the prosecution’s ability to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.  Continue reading

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