A man who slipped into bed and took advantage of a possibly drunk and sleeping teen was sentenced to three years in state prison, the L.A. County District Attorney's office announced yesterday.
This is significant because the last time Julio Morales, now 24, was prosecuted for the 2009 rape, he ultimately walked away a free man. The reason? The victim initially thought the man who'd slipped into her bed and had sex with with her was a different guy, her boyfriend, and didn't resist until she realized she'd been duped.
Citing the letter of an outdated, 1872 law, a reluctant California appeals court concluded that victims can only get justice in this kind of case if the perpetrator “masquerades as the victim's spouse.”
In other words: Impersonating a husband to have sex? Rape. Impersonating a boyfriend? Not rape.
In that ruling, the Second Appellate District court encouraged the state legislature to close that loophole, and that it did, in September.
The District Attorney's office retried Morales, and in March a jury found him guilty. According to the D.A.'s version of the second trial, the man knew she was asleep:
The prosecutor argued that the victim was raped when she was asleep. Furthermore, the prosecutor proved that the defendant knew the victim was asleep when he attacked her. The defendant again testified that the victim was awake.
Morales' will get a strike on his criminal record and will have to register as a sex offender, the D.A.'s office said.
The 2009 rape happened at a Cerritos house party. According to the appellate court's summary of the 18-year-old woman's side of the story, the Norwalk man continued to have sex with her after she realized he was not her boyfriend and tried to push him off.
When light coming through a crack in the bedroom door illuminated the face of the person having sex with her, i.e., defendant, she realized it was not Victor and tried to push him away.
Another L.A. jury convicted the man in 2010, but the appeals court early last year said the law's language forced it to let him walk.
The court wrote:
We reluctantly hold that a person who accomplishes sexual intercourse by impersonating someone other than a married victim's spouse is not guilty of the crime of rape of an unconscious person …