District Court, Salt Lake Department The Honorable Ann Boyden
The Honorable Vernice S. Trease No. 121908775
J. Garland, Attorney for Appellant.
D. Reyes and Jonathan S. Bauer, Attorneys for Appellee.
David N. Mortensen authored this Opinion, in which Judges
Ryan M. Harris and Diana Hagen concurred.
John Atem Jok was accused of sexually assaulting an
acquaintance (Victim) while she slept. Jok was charged with
and convicted at a bench trial of two counts of sexual
battery. Alleging that Victim's testimony was inherently
improbable, Jok contends that there was insufficient evidence
to convict him, and he appeals. We affirm.
Victim lived in a two-bedroom apartment she shared with a
friend (Roommate). Roommate's three children and
boyfriend also lived at the apartment, although the boyfriend
was not present on the night in question. Roommate and her
children slept in the two bedrooms, and Victim slept on one
of the apartment's two couches, where she kept sheets,
pillows, and blankets for that purpose. She had previously
been living with her mother, and although she had a learning
disability and was receiving Social Security disability
benefits, she moved in with Roommate because she wanted to be
on her own.
Accompanied by Roommate's friend (Friend), Jok and
another man, David Deng Akok, visited the apartment around 5
p.m. on September 15, 2012. Victim knew Friend, but she had
never met Jok or Akok. Jok, Akok, Friend, Roommate, and
Victim listened to music and drank beer for an hour, at which
time Akok left to drive Friend to work. Jok stayed at the
apartment, sitting on the living room couch until Akok
returned. Upon Akok's return about fifteen minutes later,
Jok and Akok left to purchase more alcohol. They returned
with a bottle of vodka and a case of beer. Jok, Akok,
Roommate, and Victim continued to drink and listen to music.
Jok and Akok drank beer, and Victim drank vodka mixed with
juice. Victim stated that she stopped drinking before
midnight because she never drinks on Sunday.
Roommate went to bed in her room around 1 a.m. Sometime
later, Victim fell asleep on the couch where she typically
slept. Although she did not remember what time she fell
asleep, she recalled that she had a headache and was still
wearing her t-shirt, bra, underwear, and pants. Victim said
that Jok and Akok were sitting on the couch with her when she
fell asleep, but she expressed some confusion about their
Victim testified at trial that she awoke to Jok and Akok
trying to touch her. Jok placed his hands under Victim's
shirt and touched her breasts. She told him to stop and
pushed his hands away, and he said "okay" and
stopped rubbing her breasts. But Jok then moved his hand
under Victim's pants and underwear, putting his finger
inside her vagina. Victim said that she felt a "[s]harp
pain," she told Jok "no" and to stop, and Jok
then stopped touching her.
After Jok stopped touching her, Victim said that Akok began
touching her, got on top of her, and pulled down her pants
and underwear. She pulled them back up, but he pulled them
down again, pinned Victim with his hands, and raped her.
Victim begged, "Please, no, . . . stop." Victim
recalled asking Akok to stop more than ten times. While Akok
was raping Victim, Jok sat on another couch and said,
"It's okay." Victim did not call out to
Roommate for help during the rape because she thought Akok
and Jok "would stop" in response to her saying
Victim was able to get up after Akok "was done."
Akok wanted her to go to his house "to sleep in his
bed," but Victim declined and told him she was staying
at her apartment. She went to the bathroom to clean up and
then into her Roommate's bedroom to tell her what had
happened. Roommate and Victim told Jok and Akok to leave the
apartment, but the two men refused. Roommate then called the
When the police arrived at about 6:30 a.m., they encountered
Jok outside the apartment. He was "stumbling," had
a hard time walking a straight line, smelled of alcohol, and
had bloodshot eyes. Police also found Akok inside the
apartment lying near the entrance. Both Jok and Akok appeared
to be intoxicated. When a detective attempted to interview
the two men, she was unable to understand Jok because his
speech was slurred; Akok was entirely unresponsive.
Some of the details Victim offered to the police-given by
means of a statement to an officer and witness report during
the immediate investigation-varied from the testimony she
offered at trial, which is recounted above. See
supra ¶¶ 3-7. She told police that after
Roommate had gone to bed at 1 a.m., she was lying on the
couch when Akok began to make inappropriate sexual comments
toward her and physically touch her. After going into the
bathroom to clean up, she found Jok and Akok still seated in
the living room area. Although she was upset about what had
happened, she lay down on the couch and tried to go to sleep.
She told police that Akok raped her and then Jok fondled her
breasts and touched her vagina numerous times in an attempt
to penetrate it with his finger. In her witness statement,
Victim wrote that Akok had touched her before Jok.
After giving her statement, Victim went to the hospital for
an examination by a sexual assault nurse examiner (Nurse).
Victim told Nurse that after Roommate went to bed, she fell
asleep on the couch. She awoke to Akok kissing her on the
mouth and touching her breasts. Akok then pulled down her
pants and underwear and forced her to have sex. Victim said
that Jok then pulled up her bra and touched her breasts. She
also disclosed that Jok had touched her vagina and anus with
his hand. Nurse stated that she was "surprised
at the amount of injury" (namely, redness, swelling, a
one centimeter laceration) to Victim's genitalia and that
the one centimeter bruise-like injury to Victim's hymen
"is more consistent with digital penetration, a
penetration by a finger. I don't often see injury to the
hymen when there is not [a] report of digital
After the physical examination, a detective assigned to the
case interviewed Victim. Victim told the detective that after
the incident with Akok, she went to the bathroom, came back
to the ...