APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. GEORGE
E. DOLEZAL, Judge, presiding.
MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
This is an appeal from the conviction, after a jury trial, of indecent liberties with a child, and from the sentence of 6 to 10 years.
An eight-count indictment charged defendant with the following crimes: four on complaints of Pattie Pruitt (rape, indecent liberties with a child, contributing to the sexual delinquency of a child, and aggravated kidnapping), and four on complaints of Karen Ogden (attempted rape, attempt to commit indecent liberties with a child, contributing to the sexual delinquency of a child, and aggravated kidnapping, which was later reduced to kidnapping). The trial court directed a verdict of not guilty on the charges of attempted rape, attempt to commit indecent liberties with a child, and contributing to the sexual delinquency of Karen Ogden. The jury found defendant guilty of the charges of indecent liberties with and contributing to the sexual delinquency of Pattie Pruitt, but found him not guilty as to her rape and kidnapping, and not guilty of the kidnapping of Karen Ogden. The delinquency charge having merged with the indecent liberties charge, defendant was sentenced only on the latter charge.
Defendant contends on appeal that the State did not prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; that he was denied his right to a fair trial by the introduction of certain evidence and the prosecutor's comment thereon; and that his sentence is excessive.
At the trial, the following testimony relevant to the issues on appeal was adduced:
Pattie Pruitt, complainant, testified for the State. She was 14 years old at the time of the alleged offenses. Defendant accosted her and Karen Ogden in Oak Park and forced them into his car at the threat of being shot. While driving through Chicago, defendant told them that although he did not want to pick them up, it was his job to do so. He told them he worked for the Mafia. He said there was a car following them, and that if they were to try to escape they would be picked up by the other men who would not be as patient as defendant. He said that he had been a policeman but had been expelled from the force for failing to give a ticket to someone he knew. He also said he had stolen some money and had been in jail.
After stopping at a gas station in Evanston, he drove them to a motel in South Holland. There he informed them that he had found a microphone in the motel room. He also said he had made contact with his superiors and that he had orders to rape both girls. When she (Pattie) became upset, he said, "Calm down, we will pretend." He told them to take off their clothes and spread them around the room because other men would come in to make sure the orders were being carried out. If they didn't find everything just right, defendant said that they would work the girls over, and things would be a lot worse. The girls took off their clothes and got into the double bed while defendant was in the washroom.
When defendant came out, he said that one of the girls had to act asleep and the other had to pretend to be enjoying herself in sexual activity. Neither girl wanted to be the one to pretend, so defendant said he would flip a coin. Karen called the toss, and Pattie lost. Defendant came around to her side of the bed, took off his pants, and got into bed on her left. Karen was on her right. He reiterated his intent to "fake it." But then he said that they would have to do it, because the microphone could pick up their motions, and the people listening would be able to tell if the act were faked. He told Pattie to spread her legs. Then he got on top of her and said he had to do it. He put his penis in her vagina. When she asked him to stop, he said that the microphone would know and he asked whether she would rather be found dead in a ditch or a field.
When he finished, defendant expressed a desire to see Pattie again, but she refused. He then went into the washroom, and the two girls dressed. When defendant left the washroom, the girls went in. When they came out, he had gone. They went to a nearby gas station and asked to use the phone. Pattie called her home. All she was able to say was, "Mom." Karen had to continue the conversation. An officer of the South Holland Police took them to the police station and then to a hospital for an examination.
Karen Ogden, complainant, testified for the State that she was 14 years old when the alleged offenses occurred. She agreed substantially with the testimony of Pattie Pruitt. In addition, she testified as follows: In the course of their drive, defendant told her he drove the man who killed Senator Percy's daughter. When they were in the motel room bed, she faced away from defendant and Pattie, but she heard him tell Pattie to spread her legs apart and to get into different positions. She lay on the bed listening and decided defendant was not faking, so she turned over and told him to stop it. He replied, "Remember the bug, I am not doing anything." Upon leaving the motel, she and Pattie went to a gas station, where Pattie told the attendant she had been raped.
Brian Arakelian testified for the State. He was employed at a gas station in South Holland on the day in question. A couple of young girls ran up to him crying and apparently upset. One of them said she had been raped. They asked to use the phone, and he showed them where it was.
South Holland Police Sergeant, James Ashmore, testified for the State. He received a call and went to the gas station, where the girls told him what had happened, and they appeared shaken and were crying.
Mrs. Betty Pruitt testified for the State that on the day in question she received a telephone call. The caller said, "Mom", and the conversation was then continued by Karen Ogden.
Dr. Jose Montero testified for the State. He is a licensed physician who was working in the emergency room of Ingalls Memorial Hospital on the day in question. He examined Pattie on that day and took smears from her vagina and vulva. There were no lacerations on her hymen nor any evidence of injury in the genital region or the rest of her body. A laboratory report indicated that the smears were positive for spermatozoa but did not indicate whether they were present in ...