Court upholds man's conviction for raping a woman at gunpoint - for forcing her to violate herself

The Massachusetts Appeals Court said today a man can be convicted of rape if he forces a woman at gunpoint to fondle herself. The ruling comes in the case of Reinaldo Prado of Framingham, convicted of robbing at gunpoint three prostitutes he met via Craigslist and raping one of them.

In an appeal of his sentence of 9-to-12 year sentence, Prado claimed he was incorrectly convicted of rape because he never actually touched the woman in 2009 - instead, he forced her, at gunpoint, to insert her fingers in herself, which his lawyer claimed was not specifically mentioned in the state's rape law, which deals with "unnatural sexual intercourse," that, in any case, the law was really vague and that no courts had ever ruled on a case like his.

Bunk, the appellate justices answered. The law is far from vague and both the appeals court and the Supreme Judicial Court have issued several rulings upholding verdicts in cases like this, even if not dealing specifically with fingers.

In a 1977 case, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled the law covered a range of sexual acts, including "intrusions of a part of a person's body or other object into the genital or anal opening of another person's body" - and that the state's highest court added it was obvious "the Legislature necessarily intended to treat modes of sexual connection other than common law rape as equally serious invasions of personal integrity."

In a 1987 case and again in a 1992 case, the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the rape convictions of men who forced others to perform sexual acts even though they themselves did not touch the victims.

The court also noted cases in which rape convictions were upheld for the use of "objects" in the acts, and said that in this case, the "objects" were the woman's own fingers, which were forced into her at the point of a gun.

Prado's attorney raised several other objections, all of which the court also rejected.

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