A was charged with eight counts involving different sex crimes. The charges were based on claims that he had sexually abused another child who rode the school bus with him on different occasions in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Mr. A was convicted of three counts of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and two counts of first degree sexual abuse. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and subsequently appealed his case to the Supreme Court of New York Appellate Division, Third Department.
The appellate court was charged with determining whether the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to warrant a conviction. Mr. A’s criminal defense attorney argued that while his client admitted engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with a minor child, the evidence did not prove that he ever compelled the victim to participate through verbal or physical force. Under New York Penal Law, forcible compulsion must be considered from the victim’s perspective and weighed against their age, the size and strength of the person perpetrating the unlawful sex acts and their relationship to the victim.
The court noted that Mr. A was four years older than the victim at the time the sex offenses occurred and that the sexual contact began when the victim was only nine. The victim testified that when he was 12, Mr. A had threatened him with physical harm if he did not agree to the sex acts. The victim also said that on another occasion, Mr. A had forced his head down and ordered him to perform oral sex. Mr. A also allegedly grabbed the victim’s testicles, arms, legs and knees on other occasions and threatened to kill both him and his mother if he did not comply.
With regard to Mr. A’s appeal, the court argued that his ability to actually carry out the alleged threats was immaterial. What mattered factually was the victim’s perception of his ability to do so. The court also noted that the jury apparently did not believe Mr. A’s theory that his victim had consented to the forcible sex acts, hence his conviction. Subsequently, the court held that the jury’s determination in finding him guilty of the sex crimes was supported by the evidence. Furthermore, the appellate court found that no error had been committed in allowing evidence to be admitted of Mr. A’s prior uncharged sex crimes or in allowing the testimony of an expert witness knowledgeable about child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome. Accordingly, the court chose to affirm the original conviction and found no grounds for supporting a reduction in the sentence.
While Mr. A’s criminal defense attorney worked hard to defend his rights, ultimately, the court could not find sufficient reason to reverse his conviction based on the evidence.
Being charged with sexual abuse or another sex crime involving a minor can be a frightening experience. If you or someone you love has been arrested for rape, sexual assault or any other sex offense, you need to contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates today to protect your rights. The firm’s team of experienced criminal defense lawyers can be reached at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW or by visiting one of their numerous New York area office locations. If convicted of a sex offense, you may face fines, imprisonment and have to register as a sex offender. Stephen Bilkis and Associates can provide you with the legal help you need to achieve the best resolution possible for your case.