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04/10/87 the People of the State of v. Aaron Walker

April 10, 1987





506 N.E.2d 1004, 154 Ill. App. 3d 616, 107 Ill. Dec. 113 1987.IL.482

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Barry E. Puklin, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court. LINDBERG, P.J., and UNVERZAGT, J., concur.


The defendant, Aaron Walker, Jr., was charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, pars. 12-14(a)(3), 12-14(a)(4).) After a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty, and he was sentenced to six years' imprisonment. On appeal, he challenges the constitutionality of the aggravated criminal sexual assault statute, and he contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defendant, at trial, admitted having sexual intercourse with the complainant, but he contended that it was not an act of force, as the complainant was a willing partner.

The complainant, Traci Nazarowski, was a 16-year-old ward of the State of Illinois on May 7, 1985, the time the alleged criminal incident took place. At that time, she had been living at the Fox Valley Group Home (hereinafter home) in Aurora, Illinois, for approximately two months. She attended the Mary A. Todd School for children with behavior disorder problems. The school was located approximately seven or eight blocks from the home.

The complainant testified she left the home at approximately 7:45 a.m. on May 7 and walked to school. She stated that she arrived at school just before 8 a.m., attended two classes, then left school at 10 a.m. to join a friend and get something to eat, intending to skip school the rest of the day. It is undisputed that the defendant, Aaron Walker, Jr., a 27-year-old black male, was driving in the area and, seeing the complainant standing on the street, approached her in his car. The defendant stopped his car, bringing the front passenger door even with the complainant, and asked her, through that open passenger window, what she was doing. She told him she was looking for a friend and accepted his offer to help her look for her friend by driving her around. There is no dispute that the complainant willingly entered the defendant's car. Complainant stated that she had never seen the defendant prior to that day. She said he was dressed in blue jeans and a cut-off sweatshirt. Complainant was also wearing blue jeans, with a red shirt and white moccasins. The complainant estimates they drove around the school area for 10 to 15 minutes without finding her friend.

The complainant testified that during that period, the defendant told her that he was working for the police, in an undercover capacity, and showed her a "mug shot" of Manuel Salazar, whom the police were seeking for the murder of a Joliet policeman. She told him that she thought a friend of hers had dated the man and gave the defendant the friend's name and address. Also during this time, complainant asked the defendant for a cigarette, and she stated that he opened the glove compartment in the car and offered her a cigarette. At that moment, complainant claims she saw what appeared to be some dark leather object in the glove compartment. Complainant stated that she had already noticed a bullet resting in a small container, a "car caddy," on the floor of the car. She testified that she therefore concluded that the leather object was a gun holster.

Following this 10- to 15-minute period during which complainant explained the defendant remained within a block or two of the school, the defendant flagged down a police officer in a marked squad car. She related that the defendant and policeman spoke for a few minutes. Complainant stated that she thought they were probably discussing the defendant's undercover work. When the defendant got back in the car, they began to drive away from the school. At that time, driving away from the school, complainant testified that she and the defendant made small talk about the information she had given him, her previous high school, some things about her family, and her experiences at the home. She stated that the surrounding area became more rural and that she asked him where they were going. She claims the defendant told her that he wanted to show her something. Sometime during the drive, complainant removed her shoes.

They drove, in the complainant's estimation, for three to four minutes, along roads unfamiliar to the complainant, until they left the main road and pulled down a gravel road into a wooded area. One of the investigating police officers testified that the road traveled was Jericho Road and that it was over two miles along Jericho Road to this gravel road where it would be normally entered if one left from Todd School. Complainant said that there were a series of gardens on one side of the gravel road. The defendant stopped the car and shut off the engine when they reached the end of the gravel road, estimated to be less than a block long by complainant. After he parked the car, he told her he used to play baseball there. At that point, complainant asserts that she told defendant she wanted to go back and that he responded that they weren't leaving until they did something first.

The complainant said she began to get scared and again asked to go back and that upon trying to open the door, the defendant locked it from his side with an automatic door lock and similarly rolled her window up from his side. According to complainant, she started to cry, and defendant told her to shut up and to take her pants off. She said no and asked, "[y]ou aren't going to hurt me, are you?" and that he responded, "[n]ot unless you have sex with me."

Defendant then allegedly started pulling down the complainant's pants. The complainant said she had her hands on the seat, trying to back away. The defendant allegedly unfastened complainant's belt, unbuttoned and unzipped the complainant's pants, and then pulled them down to her knees. She stated he had little difficulty getting them down. During this time, the complainant stated she was crying very hard and for a time, covered her face with her hand. Complainant testified that the defendant told her to get in the backseat. She said the front seat was one long seat but there was a crack in the seats. The defendant supposedly pulled complainant "a couple of inches" and then "indirectly" pushed her into the backseat. Complainant says the defendant then told her to take off her underwear and then he got out of the car on the driver's side, took off his pants, pulled the seat forward, and climbed into the backseat. Complainant says she removed her underwear while the defendant was outside of the car. She stated that she "thought about maybe I can run away from him. And then it was like, God, if I go he could catch me and be more mad at me and beat me up or something." Complainant stated that she had noticed a "white man" working in one of the gardens alongside the gravel road as they proceeded down that road.

Complainant testified that before defendant had sex with her, she raised herself up so that he could place a towel beneath her. She said that she did not tell defendant she was having her period.

When the defendant allegedly forced himself on her, complainant stated she began crying again and that the defendant "[h]e told me, he said to shut up, and he went like that. [Witness indicating.] Not hard like that, but he just hit like [ sic ] and to just ...

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