OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Prosecutors dismissed charges Wednesday against a man who had been accused of raping a female acquaintance while she was sleeping at his apartment near the University of California at Berkeley campus more than two years ago.
The prosecution’s decision came about six weeks after jurors on June 27 deadlocked 7-5 in favor of acquitting 24-year-old William Joseph Ryan III.
Ryan was charged with raping an unconscious woman at his apartment in the 1900 block of Oxford Street in Berkeley in the early morning hours of April 8, 2015.
Ryan’s attorney Elizabeth Grossman said Wednesday, “There weren’t any drugs or alcohol involved and the only issue was whether the prosecution could prove that Mr. Ryan knew that she was asleep at the time they had intercourse.”
Grossman said prosecutors couldn’t sustain that burden. She also said jurors said after Ryan’s trial that they believed there were many indications that the woman was awake at the time she had sex with Ryan.
In her closing argument in Ryan’s trial in June, Alameda County prosecutor Emily Tienken said jurors should “hold him responsible for what he did and took away from her with his actions.”
Tienken said Ryan “couldn’t possibly think she was awake” when he had sex with her.
Grossman said Ryan, the young woman and a group of their friends had been at a musical event and at the end of the evening the woman asked Ryan to walk her to her car.
However, the Berkeley parking garage where her car was parked was locked for the night so she accepted an offer from Ryan to sleep at his apartment, Grossman said.
Ryan and the woman talked and listened to music at his apartment and then cuddled all night in his bed, according to Grossman.
The police report in the case indicates that the woman woke up at 6:30 a.m. to find Ryan raping her.
Tienken said the woman was asleep, wasn’t aware of what Ryan was doing and didn’t voluntarily take her clothes off.
The prosecutor said that after the encounter the woman felt “violated and very upset.”
Grossman said the woman made a video recording of Ryan on her phone after she woke up and the sex was over but she thinks the recording, which was shown to jurors, helped the defense because Ryan repeatedly apologized and told the woman that he thought she had been awake.
Grossman said the recording showed Ryan’s state of mind, which she said was that he thought he hadn’t done anything inappropriate.
Grossman said she believes the prosecution’s decision to dismiss the charge is “a just outcome.”
Prosecutors didn’t immediately respond to a request for a comment on the case.
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