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Utah rape suspect claims innocence 'because he did not hold her down while she was fighting.'

Published February 25, 2014 8:44 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

"He believed that because he did not hold her down while she was fighting … it wasn't rape."

These words appeared in a forcible sodomy charge this week in Cedar City.

If not for the suspect's alleged confession to not knowing what rape is, this would seem an unlikely case for charges. The vast majority of rape cases never get prosecuted, and that truth extends to Utah. As prosecutors have said again and again, the burden of proof in rape is hard to meet.

Looking at the details in the police statement, that burden might have been especially heavy in this Iron County case. It's is a husband-wife case. Wife says she was abusing drugs, and husband would rape her while she was unconscious. Five years ago.

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt could be considered a long shot in front of a jury in a typical he-said-she-said scenario.

Instead, police claim, the suspect turned it into a he-and-she-both-said scenario. According to charges, the husband told police about a time when "she lost consciousness … he continued having sex with her and at one point she regained consciousness and began screaming." He also "described multiple incidents where [his wife] was 'in and out' of consciousness and did not recall having sex with him the next day," police wrote.

But, he allegedly pointed out, he didn't hold her down when she fought, so he didn't think it was rape.

—Erin Alberty

Twitter: @erinalberty