APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 15, 592, DIVISION
"D" HONORABLE M. LAUREN LEMMON, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Joel T.
Chaisson, II Louis G. Authement
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, FABIAN CELESTINE Mary
G. Authement COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, FABIAN
composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Marc E.
Johnson, and Hans J. Liljeberg
FREDERICKA HOMBERG WICKER JUDGE.
Fabian Celestine, appeals his conviction and sentence for
oral sexual battery in violation of La. R.S. 14:43.3(A)(1).
On appeal, defendant challenges the sufficiency of the
evidence presented against him at trial and further claims
that his thirty-year sentence is excessive. For the following
reasons, we affirm defendant's conviction and sentence.
OF THE CASE
December 2, 2015, the St. Charles Parish District Attorney
filed a bill of information charging defendant, Fabian
Celestine, with oral sexual battery in violation of La. R.S.
14:43.3(A)(1). Defendant pled not guilty at his
March 15, 2016, a unanimous twelve-person jury found
defendant guilty as charged and, further specifically found
that the victim had not attained the age of thirteen years at
the time of the offense. On September 13, 2016, defendant filed
a motion for new trial and post-verdict judgment of
acquittal, which the trial judge denied. After waiving
delays, the trial court sentenced defendant to thirty years
imprisonment, with the first twenty-five years to be served
without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of
sentence. Following sentencing, defendant moved for
reconsideration of his sentence, which the trial judge
denied. This appeal follows.
January 28, 2015, Detective Walter Banks, a juvenile
detective with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office,
received an anonymous call reporting that a female juvenile,
J.S., disclosed sexual abuse by a family
member. Because the anonymous caller did not provide a street
address, Detective Banks contacted the local school and
learned that J.S. was a student at the school. He proceeded
to the school to meet with J.S.
Banks took a recorded statement from J.S. When asked
"what happened last year" at her home, J.S. became
"somber" and described that she was in her bed
sleeping, when she felt cold and wet. As she reached for her
covers, she noticed her pants and underwear pulled down. She
described that defendant, her mother's boyfriend, was in
her room and "took his hands to open [her] butt and he
was…sticking his tongue in it." J.S. immediately
told her mother what happened, and her mother started crying
and fighting with defendant. J.S. described that defendant
took a fish tank and "busted it over his head" and
then went into the kitchen and "took a pot top" and
hit himself in the head with it. She stated that after the
incident she "became a different person" and that
she was "uncomfortable" around defendant and
"couldn't stand him."
taking J.S.'s statement, Detective Banks contacted the
Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and briefed
a DCFS case worker on his investigation. Detective Banks
testified that the DCFS worker took J.S.'s statement and
confirmed that J.S.'s statement to DCFS was consistent
with the one J.S. provided to him.
Clint Patterson with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's
Office Juvenile Division testified that he met with J.S. and
conducted a forensic interview on January 30,
2015. In her forensic interview, J.S. discussed
that, before this incident happened, defendant would come
into her room "every time he drank" to talk to her
about "sex and boys, " which made her
uncomfortable. She recalled that during one of these
conversations, defendant tried to put his hand down her
pants, but she swatted his hand away.
forensic interview, J.S. described the incident consistently
with the statement she gave to Detective Banks. J.S.
identified defendant as her mother's boyfriend and stated
that the incident happened during the summertime when she was
twelve years old. She stated that during that time, she and
her five siblings were living with defendant and her mother.
She explained that four of her siblings are half-siblings,
and that defendant is the father of those siblings. J.S.
recalled that when the incident happened, she was in bed with
her three younger half-sisters who were asleep.
told Sergeant Patterson that the day before the forensic
interview, while defendant was collecting his things to leave
the home, defendant profusely apologized to her, claiming
that although he could not "take it back, " he was
on "a lot of drugs" the night of the incident. J.S
also reported that defendant pleaded with her, asking her to
"please have a heart" and explaining that he
"could not go to jail."
Banks interviewed defendant and described him as "soft
spoken and apologetic." After advising defendant of his
Miranda rights, Detective Banks took two recorded
statements from defendant. In his first statement, defendant told
Detective Banks that he was a father-figure in J.S.'s
life since she was approximately two or three years old.
While he did recall an incident during which he broke a fish
tank over his head after a night of drinking, he could not
remember when he did so. In ...