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Court Looks at Corroborating Evidence in Rape Trial


In August 1971, a 14-year old girl lived in an apartment building. Their neighbor asked the girl to bring some music records from his apartment to his daughter-in law’s apartment. It was three o’clock on a summer afternoon and the 14 year old girl knew the man because he had been their neighbor for a long time.

The girl went inside the apartment of their neighbor. As soon as she entered, the neighbor grabbed the girl and he threw her down to the couch. The man held down the girl as he raped her.

A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said after the rape, the neighbor let the girl go. As she was standing up to leave, the man grabbed her by her arm forcefully and told her not to tell anyone what happened.
The girl went home to their apartment in tears. She went to her room and slammed the door.

Her father tried to talk to her and called her down to eat but she refused to eat. Her mother who was then in Birmingham, Alabama to attend the funeral of a relative called later that night after dinner and talked with her daughter. The girl just cried on the phone but would not tell her mother what the matter was.

For weeks the girl just sat in her room and would not come out. She lost interest in hanging out with her friends or even just leaving the apartment. She was withdrawn and sullen. She lost a lot of weight. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the mother brought her daughter to the hospital but the daughter refused to be examined by a male doctor. The mother asked a female gynecologist to examine her daughter and she found that the girl was already 12 weeks pregnant.

The neighbor was accused of rape. This charge was dismissed because aside from the testimony of the 14 year old, there was no other witness who can corroborate the girl’s claim that she was raped. She and the neighbor were alone in his apartment.

The District Attorney then filed a charge of endangering the welfare of a minor. The defendant moved to dismiss the charge on the ground that the same incident of rape constituted the same set of facts that brought about the charge of endangering the welfare of a minor. A Nassau County Sex Crimes Lawyer said the charge of endangering the welfare of a minor is a lesser offense which cannot be established either because there is no other witness who can corroborate the 14 year old’s claims. The criminal court denied the man’s motion to dismiss the charge.

The neighbor testified that he could not have committed the rape because he was working in Brookly on the day that the rape allegedly took place. He was working from 7 am until 5 pm and did not see the 14 year old girl. He was working in Brooklyn on the same schedule with his uncle and his son who can testify that he was with them the whole time.

The neighbor’s wife also testified that she was home in their apartment on that day and she was taking care of her grandchild. She never saw the 14 year old in their apartment.
The neighbor was found guilty of the lesser offense of endangering the welfare of a child. The man appealed his conviction asserting that just as the rape charge had to be dismissed for lack of any corroborative evidence of the rape, so must the charge for endangering the welfare of a child which is just a lesser offense of rape. A Queens Sex Crimes Lawyer said both charges for rape and endangering the welfare of a child stem from the same set of facts which are not and cannot be corroborated.

The Court held that it is true that there is no corroborative evidence of the rape charge and that the dismissal of the rape charge was correct. It is also true that the charge for endangering the welfare of a child is a lesser offense of rape. However, the Court disagreed with the man that both charges stem from the same set of facts. The only facts germane to the charge of endangering the welfare of a child are those facts which transpired after the rape.

The Court analyzed the testimony of the child and found that the neighbor endangered the welfare of the child after he raped her. When the 14 year old was getting up from the couch where he had thrown her down and held her down, he grabbed her and threatened her not to tell anybody what happened. The only facts which are material to prove the lesser offense are those facts which happened after the rape was over. The neighbor warned the 14 year old girl not to report the rape. The Court held that to silence the girl is to endanger her welfare.
Normally, the girl would have told her parents what happened to her but because of the warnings of the neighbor, the girl refused to tell anyone what had happened and would not have told anyone had she not gotten pregnant.

The Court held that the crime of endangering the welfare of a minor was committed independently of the rape and not in aid of the rape. The Court upheld the neighbor’s conviction.

Are you charged with rape and there is no corroborating witness for the victim? You think that you are sure to be acquitted? Think again. A New York City Rape Lawyer will tell you that new laws have been enacted which removed the requirement for corroborating evidence on the actual rape. A New York Rape attorney will also tell you that DNA evidence and other forensic evidence are now sufficiently acceptable evidence that proves rape. You need the advice and assistance of the NYC Rape lawyers from Stephen Bilkis and Associates who can tell you what defenses you can set up. Come and meet with the NY Rape Lawyers from Stephen Bilkis and Associates at any of their offices in the New York area.

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