Can Force Be Established by Testimony That Defendant Purposely Compelled the Victim by Overcoming Her Will by Fear ?
In State v. Arias, 9th Dist. No. 04CA008428, 2004 Ohio 4443, the defendant once told the victim that he had previously strangled a woman to death and then suffocated someone while in prison. Id. at P10.
On a different day, while visiting her, he pushed her back on the couch, removed her shorts, performed oral sex on her and inserted two fingers into her vagina. Id. at P11.
She stated that she tried to shut her legs or push him back, but she was afraid to struggle too much because of the criminal past he had revealed to her. Id. at P12.
The Ninth District Court of Appeals found sufficient evidence of force or threat of force after holding that force may be established by testimony that the defendant purposely compelled the victim by overcoming her will by fear. Id. at P32.
They determined the force can be established by a victim's testimony that she feared retaliation if she did not engage in sexual conduct where testimony also showed that he previously instilled fear in the victim with stories of violence. Id.
Thus, it is up to the jury to determine if they believe that it was the defendant's intent to instill fear through his stories and also to determine if they believe that the victim was in fact instilled with such fear that she could not exercise her will. See id.