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May 8, 2014: Norwalk Man Sentenced in 2009 Rape

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Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A 24-year-old Norwalk man convicted of rape for having sexual intercourse with a sleeping woman was sentenced today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Francis Dunnick said Julio Morales was sentenced to three years in state prison and must register as a sex offender. Additionally, the defendant will receive a strike on his criminal record.

The sentence from Judge Larry Knupp of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Norwalk Branch, comes after Morales was found guilty on March 21 of rape of an unconscious person.

A rape case was tried in December 2010 and Morales was found guilty, the prosecutor said. During that trial, Morales testified that the victim was awake and believed he was her boyfriend. The prosecutor argued that even if Morales was to be believed, he still committed rape by pretending to be the victim’s boyfriend. However, the conviction was overturned on appeal because of a law from 1872 that only protected married women who are misled into having sex with someone who is not their spouse.

The appellate court ruling in this case prompted public outrage and resulted in a change in the state's rape law. Legislation co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office changed the archaic law in September 2013. It now protects unmarried women who are defrauded into having sex with a person.

In March 2014, Morales was tried again. The prosecutor argued that the victim was raped when she was asleep. Furthermore, the prosecutor proved that the defendant knew the victim was asleep when he attacked her. The defendant again testified that the victim was awake. The jury convicted Morales on March 21.

The prosecutor said in the early morning of Feb. 21, 2009, the victim was sleeping in her room with her boyfriend. A group of others, including Morales, was in the living room partying. At some point, the boyfriend left the victim’s room. A man, later identified as Morales, entered the room, got in bed with the victim and began having sex with her.

The victim woke and initially thought the man having sex with her was her boyfriend, but then realized it was someone else. The victim began screaming and crying and then Morales fled the home, the prosecutor said. Police were called and they found Morales hiding in a bush about a mile away. He was arrested and booked on suspicion of rape.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.