In a recent case coming out of the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, the defendant appealed his conviction of sodomy of a child under the age of thirteen years. Originally, the defendant was charged and convicted after he sexually assaulted a family friend, who at the time was an 11-year-old girl. On appeal, the defendant took issue with the victim’s lack of credibility; however, the court of appeals rejected the defendant’s arguments and eventually denied his appeal.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant was visiting his family friends one evening, one of whom was eleven years old. At one point during the evening, the girl’s mom went upstairs, and when she came back downstairs, she found the defendant sexually assaulting her daughter. Terrified, the mother screamed and brought her daughter upstairs. She did not, however, report the incident to the police.
Approximately one year later, the victim told one of her teachers that she had been raped the summer before by an older family friend. She had not seen the man since her mother kicked him out of the house that evening. The teacher reported the girl’s statement to the authorities. At that point, police officers investigated the crime, found the defendant, and arrested him for sodomy. The case then proceeded to trial.
The defendant was found guilty, and he promptly appealed the conviction. On appeal, one of the defendant’s main arguments was that there was a reason for the court to doubt the victim’s credibility and allegations. The defendant argued that the victim was young and attention-seeking and that she was claiming the defendant sexually assaulted her only because she harbored a personal hatred towards him.
The court considered the defendant’s argument and ultimately determined it did not have merit. There was no evidence, said the court, that the victim engaged in “attention-seeking” behavior at school or in other settings. The defendant, in this case, was the victim’s close family friend, and she did not have the motive to lie about the offenses that occurred. In addition, said the court, the victim’s mom walked in on the defendant committing the crime, providing additional extrinsic evidence that the defendant was guilty of the sexual assault.
With this in mind, the court denied the defendant’s appeal. His original conviction for sodomy was affirmed.
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