An Idaho jury has convicted a Pennsylvania man of sexually assaulting a woman at her condominium near the Sun Valley ski resort in 2005. A jury deliberated for two hours Friday before finding Jeffrey J. Marsalis, 35, guilty of one count of felony rape. He faces up to life in prison under Idaho law.This is the man who lied to different women about his identity, and claimed to some that he was an astronaut, and who was accused of drugging and raping women in Pennsylvania. In 2007, he was convicted of 2 sexual assaults and acquitted of the other sexual assault charges after that defense attorney accused those women of lying to get revenge for Marsalis's lies about his identity.
Not surprisingly, the defense attorney in this case tried to convince the jury that this rape victim filed a fraudulent police report -- despite zero supporting evidence for this allegation -- because she was embarrassed over a one-night stand.
If there weren't witnesses who testified that this rape victim was unable to walk on her own when she left the bar, Marsalis might have gotten away with this rape, despite the fact that there was DNA evidence in this case and the woman reported promptly. The jury might have assumed that this counter allegation meant there was reasonable doubt even if they had no evidence to support the claim that the rape victim was a malicious liar.
This case, and the prior case against Marsalis, highlights why this speculative defense is nothing more than an attempt to distract the jury from the actual evidence in the case.
The defense attorney's hope was that some members of the the jury would believe the baseless and often repeated gender stereotype that, "women lie about rape," which means that women regularly lie about rape while men do not.
This stereotype causes the woman's decision to report rape to become a suspicious activity when that doesn't happen when a woman reports other crimes or when men report being raped despite the reality that a small percentage of people across gender lines do lie about being victims of all sorts of crimes.
Once jurors buy into this gender stereotype that women frequently report rape when they are embarrassed by their own behavior, or when they are angry at the man they agreed to have sex with, then it won't take much for those jurors to become suspicious of the alleged victim's testimony based on meaningless details.
Despite this latest conviction there are likely to be some people who still believe that all these women falsely accused Jeffrey Marsalis and that he is the only real victim. But this belief would be based on those people's illogical assumptions about rape such as the belief that date rape can never be real rape.
Those who continue to make this claim would never say that date murder was impossible because there is undeniable evidence disproving this ridiculous claim. Once we acknowledge that some people are capable of murdering their dates then we have to also acknowledge that some people must be capable of raping their dates. Being on a date doesn't protect that person from being murdered by the person they are dating and it certainly doesn't protect women from being raped.
Hopefully, with each success at prosecuting those who rape their dates, no type of rape will be considered safe by rapists.