Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

Earlier this month, a circuit court in Virginia ruled on a defendant’s appeal of his rape conviction. Originally, the defendant was charged and convicted after he allegedly showed up as his ex-girlfriend’s house and had non-consensual sex with her. On appeal, the defendant argued the evidence was insufficient to support his guilty conviction, and he asked the higher court to reverse the verdict. The higher court, however, ultimately disagreed with the defendant and sustained his original conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant in this case showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s home one evening, with whom he had been in an “on again, off again” relationship. The ex-girlfriend answered the door and said that she was very tired, that she had fainted earlier in the day, and that she just wanted to go to bed. She explicitly told the defendant she did not want to have sex, but she let him inside to lie in bed with her while she fell asleep.

The ex-girlfriend awoke to the defendant having sex with her while she was asleep. She told him to stop, jumped out of bed, and got a handgun from her dresser. She fired a warning shot into a mirror, and the defendant immediately ran away. The ex-girlfriend called the police, and the defendant was charged with rape.

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Recently, a circuit court in Virginia ruled on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s appeal in a sex abuse case. The defendant had been charged with having sexual intercourse with a child, and the trial court had made the decision to suppress certain statements the defendant made to officers investigating the crime. On appeal, the Commonwealth argued that the statements should not have been suppressed, since the defendant had made the statements voluntarily. Agreeing with the Commonwealth, the higher court reversed the trial court’s decision.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant in this case was brought into the police station because officers suspected him of abusing his role as a child custodian and having sex with a minor. The officers had not charged the defendant with any crime, but they wanted to speak with him to figure out if he was a legitimate suspect.

At one point in the conversation, the officers asked the defendant if he would submit to a polygraph test. The defendant asked to consult with an attorney about the decision. The officers said that would be fine, then proceeded to question the defendant more about the situation by asking him if he would agree to participate in a DNA swab. To this, the defendant agreed.

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Recently, a court of appeals in Virginia was faced with the decision of whether or not to remove a defendant’s name and identifying information from the Virginia Sex Offender Registry. Originally, the lower court had denied the defendant’s petition in 2021, deciding that his information would have to remain on the public registry. On appeal, the higher court agreed, ultimately keeping the defendant’s name on the list.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant pled guilty in 2001 to two counts of “crimes against nature.” While the opinion did not disclose the exact crimes the defendant committed, it did discuss the consequences that were involved. The two offenses happened on the same day, and the convictions forced the defendant to register on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry. The defendant complied with the requirements necessary under the registry, and he continued updating his information yearly through 2021.

In 2021, the defendant petitioned the court to remove his name from the registry. In support of his petition, the defendant said both that he had completed sex offender treatment and that he had no other criminal convictions on his record since 2001. The lower court denied the petition, and the defendant appealed.

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Recently, a Virginia court denied a defendant’s appeal in a case involving delays due to COVID-10. On appeal, the defendant argued that the delay between the date he was charged for armed burglary and the date he was convicted was unreasonably long, thus violating his constitutional right to a speedy trial. The court considered the defendant’s argument but ultimately denied it, deciding the pandemic was sufficient justification for the delay.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged with armed burglary after an incident that occurred in September 2018. Apparently, the victim of the burglary was home alone when two men entered her house unannounced. Both men had guns and both men were covering their faces so as not to be discovered.

One of the men immediately began searching the woman’s house for money, while the other kept a gun held to her head. At another point in the encounter, one of the men raped the woman and demanded that she clean herself afterward to erase evidence of the rape.

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In a recent Virginia case involving the electronic solicitation of a minor, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his guilty conviction. According to the defendant, the trial court did not give enough weight to an expert witness’s testimony regarding the defendant’s recent diagnosis of autism. This social disorder, said the defendant, affected his capacity to understand the wrongfulness of his actions. The court ultimately disagreed with the defendant, and his conviction was affirmed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the grandmother of an eleven-year-old girl reported to the police in 2018 that she had found sexually explicit messages on her granddaughter’s tablet. These messages were between the girl and the defendant in this case, mostly over Instagram and Google Hangouts. In the messages, the defendant had sent pictures of his genitalia, asked for pictures of the girl’s genitalia, and called the girl “babe” and “my girlfriend.”

Officers found the defendant at his place of work and arrested him for electronic solicitation of a minor. Upon his arrest, the defendant immediately admitted to his actions and indicated that he knew he should not have been speaking to the girl in an inappropriate way. The defendant stated that he knew the girl was eleven years old, and that he wished he could turn back time and do things differently so as not to engage in the sexual conversations in the first place.

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In a recent opinion from a Virginia court, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his criminal convictions of rape, forcible sodomy, abduction, and the use of a firearm in the commission of these felonies. Originally, a grand jury indicted the defendant of all of the above charges based on his interactions with a woman he met in 2017. On appeal, the defendant argued there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty. Rejecting this argument, the higher court affirmed the defendant’s convictions.

Facts of the Case

The defendant first came into contact with the victim in this case in 2017, when he approached her at a carwash to offer her some landscaping work. The victim was homeless at the time and was looking for ways to earn money, as her primary income came through cleaning and detailing vehicles that came through the carwash. The victim said yes to the defendant’s offer, and the defendant immediately drove her to his home where he gave her crack cocaine. The victim proceeded to spend the next few days with the defendant, sleeping at his house and following up on his offer to give her landscaping work.

The next couple of days after her arrival, the victim labored for eight hours each day on a large parcel of land, mowing and performing other various landscaping tasks. The defendant did not pay her for her work. At one point, the victim received a package from a friend that included a Bible and several food-related gift cards. The defendant stole all of the items from the victim, allowing her to keep only the Bible.

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The elements required to convict a defendant of a sexual offense in Virginia vary greatly based upon several factors. The age of this victim, the age of the alleged perpetrator, the degree of force used to perpetrate an assault, and the nature of an assault each factor into a determination of what crime, if any, a defendant can be charged and convicted of. The Virginia Court of Appeals recently heard an appeal by a defendant who challenged his aggravated sexual battery conviction based upon allegations that he molested a fourteen-year-old girl who was sleeping at her home.

The defendant in the recently decided appeal was charged with aggravated sexual battery after he allegedly touched the genitals of the cousin of someone he was dating who lived in their home. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the victim, who was fourteen years old at the time of the assault, had been sleeping on the couch in her home when she awoke to the defendant touching her genitals. After the victim notified other adults of what happened and authorities were notified, the defendant was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery.

To obtain a conviction for aggravated sexual battery, Virginia law requires the state to prove that a sexual act was accomplished against the will of a victim by force, threat, or intimidation. During a bench trial, the defense argued that because the victim was asleep at the time the attack initially occurred, that the state could not demonstrate that the attack was committed by force, threat, or intimidation under the law. The trial judge rejected the defense arguments, finding that the state proved that the criminal act was committed with “constructive force,” which is defined as an act without a victim’s consent or against their will. Based on that finding, the defendant was convicted of aggravated sexual battery and sentenced to twenty years in prison.

In a recent opinion from a Virginia court involving unlawful filming during sexual activity, the defendant’s request for the court to reconsider his guilty verdict was denied. The defendant was found guilty of one count of unlawful creation of images. He appealed based on insufficient evidence showing he was guilty, countering that his girlfriend at the time was voluntarily nude and exposed, therefore forfeiting her right to privacy. The appellate court denied the appeal because it found that the defendant’s girlfriend could, in fact, reasonably expect privacy from being recorded during sexual activity.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant and his girlfriend were in a relationship between 2017 and the end of 2019. Throughout the relationship, the defendant often recorded himself and his girlfriend while they were having sex. The videos took place in the defendant’s bedroom and focused specifically on his girlfriend’s body. At trial, the defendant’s girlfriend testified that she did not know about the recordings and that she had not consented to being recorded. Part of her evidence at trial included a video of a Skype recording in which she and the defendant engaged in sexual conversations and activity. The defendant’s girlfriend repeatedly expressed concern that the conversation was being recorded. Even though the appellant was, in fact, recording the conversation at the time, he lied and told her he was not.

In a recent opinion, a Virginia appellate court upheld a trial court’s decision to deny the defendant’s motion to strike and reconsider despite the defendant claiming that additional elements are required to prove marital rape. The decision provides valuable insight into marital rape law in Virginia.

According to the court’s opinion, the case involved a married couple who had a rocky relationship but shared a bed together. The wife alleged that while she was sleeping one night, she woke up to find her husband (the defendant) on top of her and that, despite her protests, he engaged in non-consensual intercourse with her. The next day after work, the wife reported the rape incident to the police and was examined at a hospital where the examiner took photos of the bruises on her leg. The defendant was questioned by police, and at first, denied having intercourse with her within the past month. However, the defendant’s DNA evidence was found. Additionally, the defendant had a scratch on his shoulder. The wife also had sent the defendant a text the day after the incident asking why he did that to her.

At trial, the defendant claimed that his wife initiated the sexual intercourse. Additionally, the defendant apologized to his wife through text for whatever it was that he did, testifying in court that he knew he did something to upset her. Despite this, the defendant argued that the evidence was not sufficient enough to prove rape. The trial court found the defendant guilty of rape based on the wife’s credible testimony. The defendant filed a motion to reconsider, arguing that this court had to follow the cases previously decided by the court, cases which had determined that there were additional elements required before one could be convicted of rape when the victim is a spouse.

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Virginia obscenity case involving a defendant who allegedly videotaped an eight-year-old girl while she was changing. The case required the court to determine whether the defendant violated the law by filming the young girl without her knowing, meaning she neither provided consent nor told the defendant that he did not have consent.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was dating a woman who had an eight-year-old daughter from another relationship. One day, the woman was looking through the defendant’s phone and found two videos of her daughter in various states of undress. From how the camera was positioned, it appeared that the video was taken from under the girl’s bedroom door. The woman obtained a copy of the videos and eventually contacted the police.

The defendant was charged with filming a non-consenting minor under Virginia Code § 18.2-386.1(A). After the prosecution’s presentation of the evidence, the defendant moved to strike the indictment, arguing that the evidence was insufficient. Essentially, the defendant claimed that he could not be found guilty because the girl never told him that he did not have permission to film her. The court rejected the defendant’s claim, stating that no minor “can consent to anything.” The defendant was subsequently convicted.

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