Prosecutors Push for Conviction in Case of Man Accused of Raping Berkeley Woman as She Slept

A prosecutor asked jurors Friday to convict a man of raping an unconscious person for allegedly having sex with a female acquaintance while she was sleeping at his apartment near the University of California at Berkeley campus two years ago.

In her closing argument in William Joseph Ryan III's trial in Alameda County Superior Court, prosecutor Emily Tienken said jurors should "hold him responsible for what he did and took away from her [the alleged victim] with his actions."

Tienken said Ryan, 24, who's free on bail, "couldn't possibly think she was awake" when he had sex with her.

The interaction between Ryan and the young woman occurred in the early morning hours of April 8, 2015, after her car got locked inside a Berkeley parking garage and she accepted an offer from Ryan, who she knew as an acquaintance, to sleep at his apartment in the 1900 block of Oxford Street until the garage reopened.

The police report in the case indicates that the woman went to bed and Ryan curled up next to her and held her hand but at 6:30 a.m. she woke up to find him raping her.

Ryan's lawyers argued that the woman sent "mixed signals" and he interpreted their curling up together as a signal that she liked him and wanted to have sex with him.

But Tienken said the woman was asleep, wasn't aware of what Ryan was doing and didn't voluntarily take her clothes off.

Tienken said Ryan only pulled the woman's pants down enough to the point where he could have intercourse with her.

The prosecutor said that after the encounter the woman felt "violated and very upset."

Tienken said that after Ryan had sex with the woman "he attempted to blame the victim and say that she asked for it."

Jurors began deliberating Ryan's fate this afternoon.

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