cedar rapids / iowa city criminal defense

Iowa Child Sexual Abuse Cases-'force' Defined

by David A. Cmelik Law PLC

​The model Iowa criminal jury instructions tell us that in cases requiring that the State prove the defendant acted as against the alleged victim "by force or against the will," that:


"[T]he State must prove that the defendant committed a sex act 'by force or against the will' of (victim).  In order to do so, however, the State does not have to prove that (victim) physically resisted the defendant's acts.  The force used by the defendant does not have to be physical.  It may consist of threats of violence against the victim or another person which overcame the victim's will by fear."


Iowa Criminal Model Jury Instruction 900.10


This model jury instruction derives its authority from Iowa Code 709.5, which states:


"Under the provisions of this chapter it shall not be necessary to establish physical resistance by a person in order to establish that an act of sexual abuse was committed by force or against the will of the person. However, the circumstances surrounding the commission of the act may be considered in determining whether or not the act was done by force or against the will of the other."


Thus, juries will be left to their own devices to determine what "force" means in a sexual abuse context and do not need to find that the chief complaining witness refused to fight back, or, resist. 


If you or a loved one is the target of a sexual abuse investigation or prosecution, a blog is not an adequate substitute for actual legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading such a blog nor by sending unsolicited information to an attorney over the Internet. Contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC for an initial consultation today.

Force defined: The legal definition of force is both complex and simple. First, force is by its nature coercive. But under Iowa law, it doesn't necessarily take a physical act to constitute force in a sexual abuse case. An attorney licensed in Iowa and limited exclusively limited to criminal law can explain this and other concepts related to a sexual abuse investigation or prosecution to you or a loved one. Contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC today for an initial consultation. 

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