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A Philadelphia man was found guilty of indecent assault yesterday in his third trial for sex-related crimes committed near the University. Raydell Luke -- who was found innocent of rape and attempted rape near campus in two prior cases and will be tried in a fourth case of indecent assault next month -- also faced charges yesterday of attempted rape and simple assault, but Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Gene Cohen said the prosecution did not establish either an intent to cause injury or an attempt to rape. In his decision, the judge required that Luke be evaluated before his sentencing by a psychiatrist who specializes in sex crimes. The 36-year-old defendant waived the right to a jury trial in yesterday's case, choosing instead to have his case heard by only a judge. The alleged victim, 23-year-old Susanne Taylor, said she was walking home from visiting a friend who lived in the high rise dormitories on May 10, 1990, when she was assaulted. Taylor testified that as she walked west on Locust Street at 7:30 that rainy evening, she sensed that someone was following her, keeping a steady distance of a half a block behind her. She said she walked as fast as she could, but after she crossed 45th Street, the person moved within a quarter of a block. Taylor saw that he was a black male, whom she later identified as Luke. When she reached the middle of the 4500 block of Locust Street, Taylor said Luke came within several feet of her and tripped. Believing that he had lunged for her, she turned around to face him and screamed. As the defendant stood up, saying, "I'm OK," Taylor said she realized he had fallen, and turned away from him to continue walking. Luke then began talking to her, asking her if she was a student and saying she looked good in the dress she was wearing. Taylor said she was afraid, and she responded with one-word answers. "I didn't want to upset him," she said. "I didn't want to incite him by something I said or didn't say." Then, according to Taylor's testimony, Luke said, "You look so good in that dress, I'd like to fuck you." He grabbed her from behind, putting his arms across her breasts and pelvis, she testified. She kicked backward, pulled away from him and ran down Locust Street. He turned and ran up 46th Street. Taylor reported the incident to Philadelphia Police and did not see Luke again until she identified him in a police lineup last February. Luke, who was arrested in January for allegedly raping a University employee, was found not guilty last month for a 1988 attempted rape of a Children's Hospital of Philadelphia doctor. A Municipal Court judge also found Luke not guilty of a December 30 rape of the University employee in August. Luke still faces two charges in an alleged indecent assault and robbery which occurred just two hours after the December 30 incident just off campus. In yesterday's hearing, much of defense attorney Steven Gross's questioning focused on Taylor's ability to identify the defendant correctly after a gap of 10 months. He introduced a pre-trial motion to suppress evidence from the lineup, but this was denied when Cohen ruled that nobody had influenced Taylor's identification. During the trial, Gross questioned her repeatedly about the amount of time she had seen her attacker's face, and he asked her about the lineup, in which she asked Luke to step forward a second time. This was a deviation from standard procedure. After the trial, Gross said that while he understood the strong effect a witness's positive identification of a suspect can have on a judge, he believes there is a danger of misidentification. "I don't think you can view a total stranger in the dark for a few seconds and identify them nine months later unless there is something really strange about them," he said. Assistant District Attorney Jeanette Synnestvedt, who is prosecuting Luke in all four cases, said yesterday she was disappointed by the verdict. She thought she had established a case for attempted rape, but the judge did not agree. She added that she would have preferred to try the case in front of a jury. "It is easier from my perspective as a prosecutor to try these sorts of cases -- attempt to rape -- in front of a jury," she said. "Juries are very understanding of sexual assault cases, very sympathetic. In this case I felt that they would have been very willing to convict on attempt to rape." Taylor also said the verdict disappointed her, but she was relieved that the trial is finished and Luke is in custody. "I could stop everything and cry for a while, or I could call a counselor and cry for a long time, but I don't believe in wasting time," she said. "I'm going to keep going. This person is not going to take away my right to walk down the street or to wear a dress." Taylor said the trial was not as difficult as she had anticipated, and according to Synnestvedt, the belief that sexual assault victims will be harassed in court is a fading stereotype. "It's really not that way when you come to court," she said. "We don't rake you over the coals and call you a whore."

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