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People v. Alexander





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Maurice D. Pompey, Judge, presiding.


Following a bench trial, the defendant, Kenneth Alexander, was convicted of rape (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 11-1) and deviate sexual assault (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 11-3) and sentenced to two concurrent 29-year terms. He contends on appeal that the trial court erred in precluding him from cross-examining the complainant concerning two prior allegations of rape which she made against other men. Also, he claims that the court abused its discretion in failing to order a psychiatric examination of the complainant because the evidence presented allegedly showed a compelling need for such an examination.


Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion requesting the court to order a psychiatric examination of the complainant. He offered two reasons in support of the motion. First, the complainant had filed rape charges against other men on two separate occasions. The defendant argued that the improbability of a 20-year-old woman having been raped on three separate occasions, coupled with the fact that the two prior charges did not result in convictions, served to raise the question of whether her present rape accusation was the product of a psychological disorder. Second, the defendant produced the complainant's school records in an attempt to establish that she suffered from a mental or emotional condition which would affect her competency or credibility. These records, which were examined in camera by the court, revealed a series of incidents that ultimately led to the complainant's expulsion from a Chicago-area university.

The school records indicate that on October 11, 1979, a university security officer observed the complainant running down the street, screaming and crying. She was taken to the student health clinic. A friend of the complainant explained that the complainant was upset because she learned that on the previous Monday she had been given drugs at a party and that a group of men and women had taken "sexual liberties" with her.

A report made by the dean of students revealed that on October 16, 1979, the dean informed complainant that the university was considering the cancellation of her registration due to the incident of October 11, as well as "various events that have occurred in the past two and a quarter years." Complainant's continued enrollment was conditioned upon her not engaging in any violent or frightening behavior; on seeing her counselor at least once a week; and at not having any private conversations with H.M., a male student who did not return her affection.

On April 28, 1980, the complainant disrupted a class when she struck a female student in the face and sprayed a substance in the face of H.M. When informed that her registration would be cancelled as a result of this incident, she began screaming and said that she would get a gun and kill H.M. and his new girlfriend. The complainant was sent to the hospital, and her mother was called to make arrangements to send her home.

In addition to the school records, defendant presented evidence that the complainant had brought rape charges against other men in the past. The first case occurred in New Mexico. In his brief before this court, defendant claims that the New Mexico case occurred three years prior to the incident at bar. The case was tried twice and each trial ended in a hung jury. The second case grew out of the October 9, 1979, incident mentioned in complainant's school records. After a preliminary hearing, there was a finding of no probable cause.

After considering both the complainant's prior allegations of rape and the information contained in her school records, the court denied the defendant's motion for a psychiatric examination.

The defendant then requested a pretrial ruling as to whether he would be allowed to cross-examine the complainant concerning her two prior rape charges in order to impeach her credibility by showing a trait on her part to make unfounded accusations of rape. The court denied the motion on the grounds that the prior rape charges were irrelevant and that evidence of this nature is barred by the Illinois rape shield statute. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 115-7.


The complainant testified that at 6 p.m. on January 3, 1980, she went to the Woodlawn Tap, where she met the defendant and another man, Larry Gause. She testified that defendant approached her and said that he knew a certain friend of hers. She joined them and remained in their company until the bar closed at 2 a.m.

When the bar closed, the defendant walked the complainant home, then asked if he could use the washroom in her apartment. She agreed and he stayed for a while to smoke a cigarette. When she went to let him out, he grabbed her arm and pulled her into the bedroom. She started screaming and he choked her with his hands. Defendant performed a deviate sexual act upon complainant and raped her. When he finished, he apologized and told her to put on her pajamas. The defendant told her that he had been in prison for rape and that he had been raped by 10 men. Forty-five minutes later, the defendant again raped the complainant and performed another deviate sexual act upon her after threatening her with a pair of scissors.

The complainant testified that when the defendant got up the second time, he used her telephone, which was next to the bed, to call an emergency health care unit. She heard him say that he was having an altercation with a girl and asked if there was someone who could talk to him. He held the complainant's arms while he made the phone call. A half hour later he asked her if she remembered the phone number. She told it to him, and he again called the emergency health care ...

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