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Commonwealth v. Berkowitz

Superior Court of Pennsylvania
609 A.2d 1338 (1992)



Berkowitz (defendant) and the victim were acquainted with each other in college and had mutual friends. At the time of the incident, Berkowitz was twenty and the victim was nineteen. At around 2:00 pm on April 19, 1988, the victim had plans to meet her boyfriend at the dormitory where Berkowitz lived. Finding that her boyfriend had not yet arrived, the victim went to Berkowitz’s dorm room to find his roommate. When no one answered the door, the victim found the door was unlocked and she walked in. Berkowitz was the only one home. He asked her to stay for a while. She agreed and they chatted, her sitting on the floor while he was in bed. According to the victim, Berkowitz joined her on the floor, leaned against her and straddled her, and then began kissing her. The victim objected, saying she had to go meet her boyfriend. Berkowitz ignored her and moved his hands beneath her shirt. At this point, the victim said “no.” Berkowitz then unfastened his pants and attempted to have her perform oral sex. The victim repeatedly said no, but did not physically resist. After a few moments, they both stood up. Berkowitz walked to the door and locked it. He then placed the victim onto the bed. The victim later clarified that he did not throw her on the bed. He again straddled her and began removing her pants and underwear. The victim later said she did not resist because he was on top of her. Berkowitz proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her. She repeatedly said “no.” At trial, Berkowitz said the victim returned his kisses. He acknowledged that she continually said “no,” but he believed it to be passionate moaning. He explained that he locked the door for privacy, not to lock her in. After hearing the testimony, the jury convicted Berkowitz for rape.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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