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State v. Raye

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

October 25, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
CLIFTON RAYE

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 13-2996, DIVISION "P" HONORABLE LEE V. FAULKNER, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          Paul D. Connick, Jr.Terry M. Boudreaux, Juliet L. Clark COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA

          Jane L. Beebe, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, CLIFTON RAYE

          Judges Marc E. Johnson, Robert M. Murphy, and Hans J. Liljeberg

          ROBERT M. MURPHY JUDGE

         Defendant appeals his convictions and sentences for aggravated rape of a victim under the age of thirteen years, sexual battery upon a juvenile under the age of thirteen years, sexual battery upon a juvenile under the age of fifteen years, and oral sexual battery upon a juvenile under the age of fifteen years. For the reasons that follow, defendant's convictions and sentences are affirmed, and we remand for the correction of errors patent.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A Jefferson Parish Grand Jury returned a true bill of indictment on September 26, 2013, charging defendant, Clifton Raye, with two counts of aggravated rape of a victim under the age of thirteen years, [1] in violation of La. R.S. 14:42 (counts one and two); one count of sexual battery upon a juvenile under the age of thirteen years, in violation of La. R.S. 14:43.1 (count three); one count of sexual battery upon a juvenile under the age of fifteen years, in violation of La. R.S. 14:43.1 (count four); and one count of oral sexual battery upon a juvenile under the age of fifteen years, in violation of La. R.S. 14:43.3 (count five).[2] After pleading not guilty at his arraignment, defendant eventually waived his right to a jury trial and was found guilty on all counts following a bench trial on March 1, 2016. On March 10, 2016, for both count one and count two, the trial court sentenced defendant to life imprisonment at hard labor. The trial court further sentenced defendant on that date to 25 years imprisonment at hard labor on count three, and ten years imprisonment at hard labor on each of counts four and five. All sentences were ordered to run concurrently, and without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

         Defendant thereafter filed a Uniform Application For Post-Conviction Relief seeking an out of time appeal, which was granted on December 20, 2016. The instant appeal follows.

         FACTS

         At trial, the victim, C.R., [3] testified that when she was eleven or twelve years old, the defendant, her biological father, forced her to begin a sexual relationship with him. More than once a week, when her mother was at work, defendant would bring C.R. into his bedroom, lock the door, and make her perform oral sex on him. C.R. described several incidents at her home where defendant penetrated her vagina with his penis, massaged her breasts, performed oral sex on her, and digitally penetrated her anus. C.R. also testified that, on one occasion, defendant attempted to restrain her with a belt while he attempted to have anal sex with her, but she broke free.

         C.R. stated that she did not report the abuse because she was scared and did not want to get her father into trouble. C.R. testified that she denied that any abuse had taken place when she was first asked about it by her step-sisters, but later disclosed what had happened to her after her stepsister, S.D., told her about a similar personal experience she had previously with defendant.[4]

         S.W., C.R.'s step-sister, testified that, in late March or early April of 2013, she lived with C.R., defendant, and her mother in Jefferson Parish. She recalled that, during that time, one afternoon she arrived home and saw C.R.'s school bag, but could not find C.R. S.W. knocked on defendant's bedroom door, which was locked. S.W. knocked on the door to hand defendant a telephone. A short time later, defendant and C.R. both exited the bedroom.[5] S.W. testified that, in another incident, she woke up in the early morning hours to use the restroom and saw defendant in C.R.'s bed. Because she suspected that something inappropriate may have been happening between defendant and C.R., S.W. called her sister S.D. to discuss her concerns. S.W. and S.D. decided to discuss the suspicions at their grandparents' home in Lafayette during the upcoming Easter holiday.

         Several days later, while in Lafayette, C.R. was asked by S.W. and S.D. about the suspected sexual abuse by defendant. C.R. initially denied any abuse, but eventually disclosed to S.W. and S.D. that defendant had performed oral sex on her and that she had performed oral sex on defendant. This information was relayed to C.R.'s mother, E.R., who confronted defendant with the allegations. Defendant denied having any sexual contact with C.R.

         Tracey Jackson, an investigator for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), testified that she was notified of C.R.'s complaint against defendant on April 9, 2013, and she interviewed C.R. on April 10, 2013. During the interview, C.R. told Ms. Jackson that defendant had sexually abused her numerous times over the preceding two-year period, specifically that defendant had "fondle[d] her, " "touch[ed] her chest, " "touched her vaginal area" penetrating her with his fingers as well as his penis, penetrated her anus with his fingers, performed oral sex on her, and that she performed oral sex on defendant. Ms. Jackson relayed this information to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office (JPSO) following the interview with C.R.

         Detective Ronald Raye, of the JPSO Personal Violence Unit, testified that he went to C.R.'s home[6] and brought her to Children's Hospital for a physical examination. Detective Raye prepared defendant's arrest warrant after speaking to Ms. Jackson, watching C.R.'s interview at the Children's Advocacy Center and reviewing C.R.'s hospital records.

         Ann Troy testified that she is a forensic nurse practitioner who works with child victims of sexual abuse at the Audrey Hepburn Care Center in New Orleans. Ms. Troy recounted that she interviewed C.R. on April 27, 2013, and C.R. recounted a "detailed history of sexual abuse" by defendant over a two-year period that included oral sex, vaginal and anal penetration with his penis, and forcing C.R. to masturbate him. Ms. Troy found C.R.'s statements to be consistent with the way in which children disclose sexual abuse. She further noted that the physical findings from her examination of C.R. were normal. However, Ms. Troy testified that it is not uncommon for a child with a history of vaginal penetration to present with normal physical findings. Ms. Troy further explained that delayed reporting is very common amongst children who have been sexually abused as they tend to blame themselves for what has happened to them.

         The trial judge was shown the video of an interview between former forensic interviewer, Erika Dupepe, and C.R., which took place in April of 2013[7] at the Children's Advocacy Center in Jefferson Parish. During that interview, C.R. described defendant's sexual abuse of her in detail. C.R. stated that, at age 11, defendant would go to her bedroom while she was sleeping and touch her chest and buttocks. Defendant also touched her "privates" and made her touch his "privates" while her mother was at work or asleep. Beginning at age 12, defendant vaginally penetrated C.R. with his penis twice, and digitally penetrated her anus three times. C.R. described one incident when defendant forced her to perform oral sex on him. She was 12 at the time and in seventh grade. Defendant forced C.R. to perform oral sex on him on more than one occasion. The last incident of sexual abuse took place in March of 2013, when defendant forced C.R. to masturbate him and perform oral sex on him. During that particular time, C.R.'s sister knocked on the defendant's bedroom door to give him the phone, and defendant told C.R. to hide in his bathroom.

         Defendant testified at trial and denied that any sexual contact had taken place between himself and C.R. He further testified that he believed the accusations ...


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