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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

7.1-5  Aggravated Sexual Assault in the First Degree -- § 53a-70a

Revised to December 1, 2007 (modified June 13, 2008)

The defendant is charged [in count __] with aggravated sexual assault in the first degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree when such person commits sexual assault in the first degree and in the commission of such offense <insert appropriate subsection:>

  •  § 53a- 70a (a) (1):  such person (uses / is armed with and threatens the use of / displays or represents by such person's words or conduct that such person possesses) a deadly weapon.

  • § 53a- 70a (a) (2):  with intent to (disfigure the complainant seriously and permanently / to destroy, amputate or disable permanently a member or organ of the complainant's body), (he/she) causes such injury to the complainant. 

  • § 53a- 70a (a) (3):  under circumstances evincing an extreme indifference to human life such person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a risk of death to the complainant, and thereby causes serious physical injury to the complainant.

  • § 53a- 70a (a) (4):  such person is aided by two or more other persons actually present.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Element 1 - Committed sexual assault in the first degree
The first element is that the defendant committed sexual assault in the first degree.  <Insert the elements from the instruction for the alleged underlying crime:>

Element 2 - Aggravating factor
The second element is that in the commission of the sexual assault <insert as appropriate:>

  • § 53a- 70a (a) (1):  the defendant, in carrying out the sexual assault, (used a deadly weapon / had a deadly weapon in (his/her) possession and threatened to use it / displayed or represented by (his/her) words or conduct that (he/she) possessed a deadly weapon).  "Deadly weapon" is defined by statute as any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.  The state alleges that the defendant <insert allegations concerning the weapon>.

  • [<Insert if appropriate:>  "Displayed" means that the <insert type of weapon> was shown to or was visible to the complainant.  "Represented by words or conduct" means that the defendant did or said something to indicate to the complainant that (he/she) had a <insert type of weapon> in (his/her) possession.  It is not necessary for the state to prove that the defendant actually had a <insert type of weapon>, only that it was represented to be a <insert type of weapon> by what the defendant said or did.]

  • § 53a-70a (a) (2):  the defendant, with the intent to disfigure the complainant seriously and permanently, or to destroy, amputate or disable permanently a member or organ of the complainant's body, caused such injury to the complainant.  A person acts "intentionally" with respect to a result when (his/her) conscious objective is to cause such result.  <See Intent: Specific, Instruction 2.3-1.>

  • § 53a-70a (a) (3):  the defendant, under circumstances evincing an extreme indifference to human life, recklessly engaged in conduct that created a risk of death to the complainant, and thereby caused the complainant serious physical injury.  "Indifference" means simply not caring.  It means lacking any interest in a matter one way or the other.  Extreme means existing in the highest or greatest possible degree.  Extreme indifference is more than ordinary indifference.  It is synonymous with excessive and is the greatest departure from the ordinary.  What evinces an extreme indifference to human life is a question of fact.  A person acts "recklessly" with respect to a result or circumstances when (he/she) is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstances exist.  <See Recklessness, Instruction 2.3-4.>  "Serious physical injury" means physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

  • § 53a-70a (a) (4):  the defendant was aided by two or more other persons actually present.1  This means that two or more other persons must have been present and actively assisting in the assault.  Mere presence of inactive companions, or mere acquiescence or some innocent act that in fact aids the perpetrator of the assault does not constitute aid within the meaning of the statute.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that <insert the concluding summary from the instruction for the underlying crime>, and that <insert aggravating factor>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.
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1 "Actually present" does not require physical presence in the room or place where the assault occurs.  State v. Jackson, 75 Conn. App. 578, 585-87 (2003).

Commentary

Sentence Enhancer
Section 53a-70a (b) provides an enhanced penalty if the victim is under 16 years of age. The jury must find this fact proved beyond a reasonable doubt.  See Sentence Enhancers, Instruction 2.11-4.
 


 

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