Jury finds city man guilty of rape, other charges
It didn’t take long for a jury to decide the fate of 37-year-old city man Kenneth Jerome Johnson – guilty of rape of an unconscious victim, sexual assault and indecent assault.
“(Johnson) took something from the victim that she can never get back. She’s been carrying that anger around for almost a year now. It’s time for justice to be done,” Assistant District Attorney Melissa Kalaus said during closing arguments.
The 23-year-old victim appeared visibly happy when the verdict was rendered, while Johnson’s demeanor was stoic.
Johnson raped the young victim while she was passed out drunk on a friend’s couch last March. When the victim awoke to Johnson having sex with her, she “went crazy” and threw him off her, she testified.
Multiple witnesses heard Johnson make incriminating statements after the rape. According to testimony, Johnson told the victim, “I didn’t do anything. I was just trying to wake you up!”
Defense attorney Jeanna Longo argued that, since the commonwealth’s witnesses all were friends, they would have had ample opportunity to orchestrate their stories.
“How come not one person mentioned (Johnson’s incriminating statements) to police? After almost a year of being friends and knowing this trial was coming up, now this statement comes out?” Longo said during closing arguments.
Kalaus dismissed Longo’s accusation and argued that the defendant had more to gain by fabrication.
“Johnson had our discovery material for more than a year. He knew what our witnesses were going to say and built a story to try to make it fit,” Kalaus said.
While there was no seminal fluid found inside the victim, lab tests of her underwear confirmed the presence of Johnson’s DNA.
The defense claimed the sexual act was consensual and that the victim did not have injuries consistent with rape.
“All she had was an abrasion on the right side of her body,” Longo said.
Kalaus conceded that there were no injuries to the victim but pointed out that one would not expect physical injuries from this type of rape.
“We didn’t charge rape by forcible compulsion,” Kalaus said.
Johnson, who took the stand in his own defense, made several Freudian slips that revealed his guilt, according to Kalaus.
“He said, ‘She woke up,’ then caught himself and said, ‘I mean, she jumped up.’ He can’t run away from his own words because it’s the truth. A slip-up like that is huge,” Kalaus said.
Johnson also fled to Philadelphia after the incident, proving his consciousness of guilt, Kalaus argued.
Johnson will be sentenced March 25.