Evidence to Establish Rape

In order to establish the general criminal intent required for first-degree sexual assault, it has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused subjected another person to sexual penetration and overcame the victim by force, threat of force, coercion, or deception.  Whereas, in a statutory rape trial, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show that the victim was under age[i].

In a prosecution for rape, it is incumbent upon a state to show that the carnal knowledge was without the consent of the prosecutrix[ii].  If a person claims incapacity as a defense to a charge of rape or similar offense, then such person has the burden to prove the incapacity by a preponderance of the evidence.

Similarly, the raising of the question of intoxication in the defense to a charge of crime involving a physical act, such as rape, goes to the question of the physical capacity of the defendant to have committed the crime charged.  Such incapacity must be proved by the defendant[iii].  In an action for rape the burden is on plaintiff not only to show the fact of intercourse, but also to show to the satisfaction of the jury that it was accomplished by force and against the victim”s will[iv].

It is to be noted that facts such as marital status, children of a person is generally inadmissible in a rape trial[v].  However, this general rule of nonadmissibility is subject to a number of exceptions.  It can be seen that in some prosecutions for rape, evidence that the accused was a married man was admitted to show an evil motive.  Similarly, such evidence was admitted to bear on the credibility of witnesses[vi].

To show lack of consent, the evidence of the outcry of the injured female is admissible.  A witness can testify as to the tone of voice of the outcry during such alleged rape.  However, the prosecution is not bound to depend solely upon the testimony of the victim to establish the act.  It can also consider direct or circumstantial evidence[vii].

Likewise, if the age of the victim is material, the evidence of a father or mother or of both regarding the age of the child is considered to be the primary evidence.  Records such as birth records or family Bible records are also considered as evidence if primary evidence is not available.  Similarly, a physician who attended the birth of the victim can testify regarding the date of the birth.

It is to be noted that evidence of pregnancy is admissible as evidence for statutory rape generally.  Blood tests, DNA tests and seminal fluid test can be regarded as valid evidence.  Similarly, evidence of the reputation of the accused for sexual morality is admissible.  If the victim is affected by some venereal disease and if the defendant has the same venereal disease, then it can be taken as evidence generally.

[i] State v. Houx, 109 Mo. 654 (Mo. 1892).

[ii] Baldwin v. State, 15 Tex. Ct. App. 275 (Tex. Crim. App. 1883).

[iii] State v. French, 171 Ohio St. 501 (Ohio 1961).

[iv] Kirkwood v. McFarland, 47 So. 2d 74 (La.App. 1 Cir. 1950).

[v] Hastings v. State, 119 Tex. Crim. 507 (Tex. Crim. App. 1931).

[vi] Fletcher v. State, 141 Tex. Crim. 26 (Tex. Crim. App. 1940).

[vii] State v. Ladehoff, 255 Iowa 659 (Iowa 1963).


Inside Evidence to Establish Rape