Evidence to Support Assault With Intent to Rape - Example Case

In People v. Greene (1973) 34 Cal.App.3d 622, the People presented evidence that the defendant approached the 16-year-old victim (Linda) as she was walking home from a babysitting job at approximately 11:00 p.m. (Id. at p. 629.) The Greene court summarized the evidence concerning the ensuring encounter as follows: "The defendant, who approached from the direction in which Linda was walking, put his arm around her waist and turned her around. She thought his conduct was unusual, and she was startled and afraid. Defendant spoke in a soft voice and said, 'Don't be afraid. I have a gun. Don't move.' The defendant was on her right with his left arm around her waist, and she felt something hard against her right side. She did not look down to see whether it was a gun and did not know whether it was his finger, or a piece of metal or wood. The defendant told her to be quiet. At his request she placed her right arm around his waist and they started walking in the opposite direction from which she had been headed. Linda asked the defendant, 'What do you want?' or 'Oh God, what do you want?' and he replied, 'I just want to play with you.' She also remonstrated, 'Don't hurt me.' As they walked slowly the defendant had a hold of Linda and moved his left hand up and down her waistline, a little bit, in a manner which she demonstrated to the jury. An objection was sustained to Linda's volunteered statement, 'He just put his hand where he's not supposed to,' and a question and answer indicating he did 'other things.' When defendant indicated that he was going to play with her, Linda attempted to get away and shook her head and said 'No, no.' The defendant told her to stop it and be quiet. Linda remained quiet and then broke from defendant's embrace without a struggle, screamed and ran to a friend's home. According to Linda she only walked with the defendant past a couple of houses, and the whole incident took no more than six or seven minutes." (Id. at p. 650.) The People presented evidence that the defendant had committed another charged sexual offense against a second victim (Terese). (Greene, supra, 34 Cal.App.3d at p. 627.) During this offense, which occurred less than a month prior to the charged offense involving Linda, the defendant approached Terese on the street and asked her to come with him. (Id. at p. 628.) When she declined, the defendant grabbed her with one arm and shoved his other hand into her vaginal area. After approximately 30 seconds, Terese was able to free herself and flee. (Ibid.) The People also presented evidence of several additional incidents during which the defendant attempted to have sex with a teenage girl whom he met on the street. Each of the incidents occurred approximately 18 months before defendant's encounter with Linda and involved the same victim, Miss K. (Greene, supra, 34 Cal.App.3d at p. 631.) During one of the encounters, the defendant approached Miss. K. on the street and told her that he wanted to have sexual intercourse. The defendant then grabbed Miss. K. before she was able to flee. (Ibid.) On another occasion, the defendant offered Miss K. $100 to have sex with him, and then pushed her into some bushes before she was able to run away. (Id. at p. 632.) On still another occasion, the defendant offered Miss K. $50 to have intercourse, blocked her path when she attempted to leave, and grabbed her in the crotch before she was able to flee. (Ibid.) Miss K. testified that the defendant exposed himself during each of the incidents. (Ibid.) In concluding that the evidence was insufficient to support the jury's verdict finding the defendant guilty of assault with intent to rape Linda, the Greene court stated, "The testimony of Linda when considered alone falls short of furnishing substantial evidence that the defendant assaulted her with intent to commit rape." (Greene, supra, 34 Cal.App.3d at p. 651.) In support of this conclusion, the court cited the facts of several cases in which the People had presented stronger evidence of the defendant's intent to commit a rape. (Id. at pp. 651-652.) The Greene court also concluded that the evidence of the defendant's commission of the other offenses "failed to rise to the dignity of showing intent to overcome his victim's resistance by force or violence." (Id. at p. 653.) In support of this conclusion, the Greene court again reasoned that the evidence did "not measure up to the facts" of several other cases in which the People had presented stronger evidence of a defendant's intent to rape. (Ibid.)