NORWALK (CBSLA.com) — A 24-year-old Norwalk man convicted of rape for having sexual intercourse with a sleeping woman was sentenced Thursday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
Deputy DA Frank Dunnick said Julio Morales was sentenced to three years in state prison but since he already served three years before the initial conviction was overturned he is a free man.
Morales, however, must register as a sex offender. Additionally, the defendant will receive a strike on his criminal record.
The sentence from Judge Larry Knupp of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Norwalk Branch, comes after Morales was found guilty on March 21 of rape of an unconscious person.
The case was tried in December 2010 and Morales was found guilty, the prosecutor said.
However, on appeal, the conviction was overturned because of an 1872 law that only protected married women who are misled into having sex with someone who is not their spouse.
The overturned conviction prompted public firestorm and resulted in a change in the state’s rape law.
“The idea that somehow it would be easier or easier to defend raping a single woman versus a married woman is just, has no basis today,” Dunnick said.
Dunnick, said KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper, helped also bring that change about.
“I filed charges and took the case to court and I’ve been there since day one,” Dunnick said.
Legislation co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office changed the strange law in September 2013. It now protects unmarried women who are defrauded into having sex with a person.
Morales was tried again in March 2014.
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 jury convicted Morales on March 21.
The prosecutor said in the early morning of Feb. 21, 2009, the victim — then 18 — was sleeping in her room with her boyfriend. A group of others, including Morales, was in the living room partying. At some point, the boyfriend left the room. A man, later identified as Morales, entered the room, got in bed with the victim and began having sex with her.
The victim initially thought the man having sex with her was her boyfriend, but then realized it was someone else. The victim began screaming and crying and Morales fled the Cerritos home, the prosecutor said. Police were called and they found Morales hiding in a bush about a mile away. He was arrested and booked on suspicion of rape.
While Morales is a free man, the victim was able to get the last word Thursday in court.
Dunnick read her statement that said in part, “I want everyone to know what you did to me and how much of a despicable member of society you are. I want you, your family and everyone present here today to know that you are a rapist.”