Allegations of sexual assault are usually surrounded by some amount of emotion and media coverage, both of which can make it difficult to build a defense. When facing more than one charge of sexual assault, individuals must work with defense teams to make decisions about whether to face charges individually or as a group. In the case of a Texas man, defense attorneys elected to face each charge in a separate trial.
The man, who is 41 years old, faces charges associated with the sexual assault of four women. According to allegations, the man posted a Craigslist advertisement in 2012. In at least one case, the advertisement was for subletting an apartment. The woman in that case reports that she went to the apartment in response to the ad and was sexually assaulted by the 41-year-old man.
In a decision at which it took the jury less than two hours to arrive, the man was convicted of assaulting the woman. The judge is scheduled to sentence the man on Dec. 27. The maximum sentence is twenty years in prison.
The man also faces charges associated with the rape of three remaining women. According to reports, the man allegedly used Craigslist to lure victims to his location in those three cases as well.
Facing three separate trials following a conviction can be difficult. Though jury members will be instructed to consider only the incident in question at a trial, media coverage of related charges can be difficult to ignore. A strong defense in any case that involves multiple charges must take into account the total impact of all charges as well as public and jury opinions.
Source: CBS DFW, "McKinney Craigslist User Guilty Of Sex Assault" No author given, Dec. 17, 2013