Can Threatning to Use a Dangerous Weapon Lead the Victim to Believe That the Weapon Exists ?

In People v. Ramsey, 147 Ill. App. 3d 1084, 1090, 99 Ill. Dec. 962, 496 N.E.2d 1054 (1986), three defendants were convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault. The evidence revealed that during the attack one of the defendants threatened to "blow [the victim's] head off" with a shotgun located in the trunk of the car in which the attack took place. Ramsey, 147 Ill. App. 3d at 1090. During the attack, the shotgun was never produced and the victim never saw the gun. After the attack, however, the police recovered a shotgun from the trunk of the car. On appeal, the defendants argued that, because the victim never saw a weapon and her account of threats was uncorroborated, the evidence was insufficient to establish the required element under section 12--14(a)(1) of the Criminal Code. Ramsey, 147 Ill. App. 3d at 1089. The appellate court disagreed and affirmed the defendants' convictions. In reaching its decision the court noted "that section 12--14(a)(1) specifies that the accused need only threaten to use a dangerous weapon under circumstances which would reasonably lead the victim to believe that the object was a dangerous weapon.