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Rape Alexandria Virginia Lawyer Fear Violence Abusive Father Sexual Intercourse

Rape Alexandria Virginia Lawyer Fear Violence Abusive Father Sexual Intercourse

Commonwealth v. Charles
Facts:

Defendant uncle and defendant aunt appealed from the judgments of the Circuit Court of the City of Alexandria (Virginia), which convicted the uncle of the rape of his niece as a principal in the first degree and convicted the aunt of rape as a principal in the second degree. The 15-year-old niece testified that she had intercourse on multiple occasions with the uncle out of fear of violence from him and out of fear of being returned to her abusive father. The court found that sexual intercourse between the uncle and the niece was the result of intimidation by both defendants in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-61 (1982).

Rape Alexandria Virginia Lawyer Fear Violence Abusive Father Sexual Intercourse

Rape Alexandria Virginia Lawyer

Issue:
  • Whether the trial court erred by convicting the uncle of the rape of his niece as a principal in the first degree and the aunt of rape as a principal in the second degree?
Discussion:

On appeal, the court found that an amendment to Va. Code Ann. 18.2-61 (1982) expanded the definition of rape from intercourse by force to include intercourse by force, threat, or intimidation. The court held that intimidation could occur without threats and meant putting a victim in fear of bodily harm by exercising such domination and control of her as to overcome her mind and overbear her will, and that intimidation could be caused by the imposition of psychological pressure on one who, under the circumstances, was vulnerable and susceptible to such pressure. The court held that the fact that the aunt could not be a principal in the first degree did not prevent her conviction as a principal in the second degree. The court found that the aunt’s actions in persuading the niece to submit and in fostering the atmosphere of intimidation supported a finding of constructive presence on the specific occasion that she was not physically present during the intercourse. The court affirmed the conviction of the uncle of rape as a principal in the first degree and the court affirmed the conviction of the aunt of rape as a principal in the second degree.

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Article written by A Sris
Disclaimer:

These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

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