Regarding the amount of force required to support a rape conviction, if the acts and threats of the defendant were reasonably calculated to create in the mind of the victim--having regard to the circumstances in which she was placed--a real apprehension, due to fear, of imminent bodily harm, serious enough to impair or overcome her will to resist, then such acts and threats are the equivalent of force.
A man was convicted of rape and assault. He sought review with the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland and asserted that the evidence was insufficient to support the rape conviction. Defendant did not appeal the assault conviction.
Was the rape conviction proper?
The court held that the prosecution failed to show that defendant's words or actions created a reasonable fear in the mind of the victim that if she resisted, he would have harmed her or used force to overcome the resistance. It held that force is an essential element of the crime of rape and to justify a conviction, the evidence must warrant a conclusion either that the victim resisted and her resistance was overcome by force or that she was prevented from resisting by threats to her safety.