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
D. Connick, Jr.Terry M. Boudreaux, Juliet L. Clark COUNSEL
FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA
L. Beebe, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, CLIFTON RAYE
Marc E. Johnson, Robert M. Murphy, and Hans J. Liljeberg
M. MURPHY JUDGE
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.
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,  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). 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.
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.
trial, the victim, C.R.,  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
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Ronald Raye, of the JPSO Personal Violence Unit, testified
that he went to C.R.'s home 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.
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.
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 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.
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 ...