21-Year-Old Carnegie Mellon Student Acquitted of Multiple Sexual Offenses
Recently, a Carnegie Mellon University student was charged with multiple criminal offenses, including:
The charges stem from a situation in which he met a University of Pittsburgh student and agreed to meet up at a bar to spend some time together. Upon realizing the woman forgot her ID, they buy some alcohol from a liquor store, go back to his place, and start drinking. Things eventually got physical, and the two had sex. The next morning, however, the woman woke up and didn’t remember the events of the night before. As such, she contacts some friends and eventually reports the situation to the police – telling them she doesn’t remember consenting to sexual intercourse.
The police ask the Carnegie Mellon student for a statement, which he gave – but without a lawyer. He tells officers the two had consensual sex, and could prove it with a recording he made of the previous night’s activities – in which expressions of affirmative consent were made multiple times. He handed the recording over, the police officer listened to it, and the man was charged with the above offenses.
Wanting to avoid the harsh penalties of conviction, which included time behind bars, a permanent criminal record, immigration issues, and more, the young man reached out to Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC for help.
Initially he was charged with what is called a violation of Pennsylvania Wire Tap Act, as he recorded the woman without her permission. At the preliminary hearing this charge was thrown out, and the case for the above offenses eventually proceeded to trial.
As the case progressed, more details of the case were revealed, including sound bites from the recording, and details about the night in question. One such detail was that after the client fell asleep, the women screamed loudly, ran naked out of his apartment, and ran into a stranger who eventually called the police. Upon law enforcement’s arrival and questioning, she tells them she had consensual sex and was not sexually assaulted. Upon noting her inebriation, officers took her to the hospital where she got hydrated and helped out. It wasn’t until the next day that she returned to them and said she didn’t remember consenting.
At trial, the jury ended up acquitting the client of the rape, simple assault, and unlawful restraint. They did, however, convict him of sexual assault, stating that he should have known the woman was too drunk to provide consent. As attorney Matt Ness was preparing for sentencing, he filed a motion for judgment of acquittal. This asked the judge to vacate the verdict, and that it was not supported by legally sufficient evidence. The judge eventually granted this request, and the jury verdict was vacated. As such, the client was found not guilty of each offense for which he was charged.
The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.