Articles Tagged with rape

Earlier this month the criminal trial of Jacob Paul Skorniak, 51, started in San Diego Superior Court. Skorniak is accused of kidnapping and raping a 21-year-old German exchange student he met in Pacific Beach during New Year’s celebrations. He is also accused of using a knife to attack the victim. Skorniak has testified that it was consensual, but the young woman, who has since returned to Germany, has chosen not to return to San Diego to testify at the trial. She was reportedly initially cooperating with the prosecution. Even without victim testimony, the jury ultimately found Skorniak guilty of the charges of rape, kidnapping with intent to commit rape, and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.

In his case, Skorniak actually recorded the crime he committed and it was played for the jury. The victim also inadvertently dialed her cell phone during the assault and her parents answered in Germany. Her father testified that he screamed into the phone until the line went dead.

Everyone knows that being accused of rape is a serious matter. While there may be legal defenses in a situation, we will seek to explain the type of evidence that typically goes into a rape trial.

What if There is No Victim Testimony?

Usually, the most compelling evidence at a rape trial is the testimony of the victim. There is no law mandating that victims of sex crimes have to testify. Prosecutors may still decide to prosecute even without the victim’s testimony if there is other evidence that makes them think they have a case. They will also consider witness testimony as evidence to bring to trial.

What Kind of Evidence is used in Rape Cases?

Statistically speaking, the vast majority of rapes are committed by persons known to the victim.  Therefore, the identity of the person is usually known. However, prosecutors also have to rely on other evidence to prove that the accused committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This includes physical and forensic evidence, such as bruises and cuts on the victim, torn clothing, and DNA evidence or other witness evidence. Continue reading

A bill by state Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Beach) that would increase prison sentences for high-risk sex offenders who tamper with their electronic tracking devices is reported to be headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval. The bill was inspired by the Orange County serial killings of four women who disappeared from high-prostitute areas of Santa Ana and Anaheim. The subsequent investigation showed that the two men involved, Steve Gordon and Franc Cano, twice cut off their monitoring devices and fled to Alabama and Las Vegas.

Bates’ bill would make it a felony for the most egregious sexual offenders to remove their GPS monitors, with prison terms for that violation up to three years. Eligible crimes include rape, spousal rape, and rape of a child. The bill was passed by the California Assembly and now awaits Jerry Brown’s signature to become California state law.

Definition of Rape