The People of the State of New York v. Joseph Gibson

Case ID:
Defendant(s) name(s):
Joseph Gibson
Hearing date:
Wednesday, June 18, 1919
Joseph F Mulqueen
Prosecuting attorney(s):
Defense attorney(s):
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Helen Shanks, 14 years old, walking home from school along 8th Avenue on May 14, 1919, recognized an elderly man, Joseph Gibson, 80 years old, motioning to her from the window of his apartment. She knew Gibson as someone who had previously given her gifts of money and she entered the building. A patrolman, James Tuohy, standing at his post near 36th Street, had seen the man wave to the child and he crossed the street to follow the girl into the building. He heard first a man’s voice; then a girl’s voice; and, upon entering the front apartment, Tuohy discovered Gibson with his trousers open and the girl seated on a couch. He asked the girl what had occurred and after hearing that the man had lain on her and penetrated her, he arrested Gibson and took him to the 22nd Precinct station house. The defendant, indicted on three counts – second degree rape; second degree assault; and abduction – denies in court that he had invited Helen Shanks into his apartment. The door had been open; she had walked in on her own volition; and he had immediately asked her to leave just as the policeman had knocked on his door. William Travers Gibb, a physician with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, testifies that he had examined the girl. Her hymen was ruptured, indicating penetration. Helen Shanks testifies that Gibson had given her money and had penetrated her on four occasions. The defense introduces a medical report by Stephen Jewett, an attending psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital, stating that Gibson, on account of his medical condition, is unable to perform sexual intercourse and would most probably be unable to make penetration. The judge, Joseph Mulqueen, in his address to the jury, states that he will dismiss the charge of rape on account of the defendant’s physical disability but will continue with the other charges. The jury, after deliberating for almost ninety minutes, finds the defendant guilty of assault in the third degree.
Crime location:
Manhattan, New York