from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 319656 Honorable Brady D.
ARLEN VANNORTRICK Pro Se
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Douglas Lee Harville Counsel
E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
MONIQUE YVETTE METOYER ERICA JEFFERSON Assistant District
COX, BLEICH (Ad Hoc), and GASKINS (Pro Tempore) JJ.
BLEICH, J. (Ad Hoc)
criminal appeal arises from the First Judicial District
Court, Parish of Caddo. On January 28, 2016, following a jury
trial, the defendant, Roy Arlen Van Nortrick, was convicted
as charged of two counts of molestation of a juvenile,
violations of La. R.S. 14:81.2. On June 1, 2016, Van Nortrick
was sentenced to two consecutive 45-year sentences, with the
first 25 years of each sentence to be served without the
benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. For
the following reasons, Van Nortrick's convictions and
sentences are affirmed.
September, 2010, J.M. and her younger sister, R.M., went to
live with their aunt, Shelly Clark, after being involved in a
serious automobile accident which resulted in their
mother's arrest and subsequent incarceration. J.M.
suffered substantial injuries from the crash, including a
fractured skull and a traumatic brain injury. As part of her
rehabilitation, according to J.M. and Clark, J.M. was
encouraged to keep a journal, which her aunt would read daily
for accuracy. The journal was a means for J.M. to stimulate
her memory, as well as practice her handwriting. On or about
July 2, 2013, Clark discovered a troubling entry in
J.M.'s journal detailing the sleeping arrangements in the
home she had occupied with her parents, sister, brother, Van
Nortrick, and his young son prior to the automobile accident.
As a result of the journal entry, Clark took J.M. aside and
asked her if she had ever been touched inappropriately by
anyone. J.M. confided to her aunt that Van Nortrick had
sexually molested both her and her sister, R.M., when he
lived with their family in Mooringsport and Shreveport,
Louisiana. When Clark spoke separately with R.M., she
corroborated her sister's allegations that Van Nortrick
touched her inappropriately.
10, 2013, the sisters were individually interviewed at the
Gingerbread House, a child advocacy center in Shreveport.
Both gave detailed accounts of various sexual incidents with
Van Nortrick occurring in 2009 and 2010.
Nortrick was arrested on November 18, 2013, in Michigan,
where he was living at the time, and extradited to
Shreveport. Upon arriving in Shreveport, Van Nortrick was
immediately transported to a Caddo Parish Sheriff's
Office and gave a statement to police. Initially, Van
Nortrick denied any wrongdoing, but, after being confronted
with details provided by J.M. and R.M. of specific incidents
of sexual abuse by him, Van Nortrick admitted to several
sexual encounters with both girls. A month later, Van
Nortrick was charged by bill of information with two counts
of molestation of a juvenile, violations of La. R.S 14:81.2.
The bill specifically alleged that the victims, J.M. and
R.M., were under the age of 13 at the time of the offenses.
case proceeded to trial and on January 28, 2016, a unanimous
jury returned a verdict finding Van Nortrick guilty as
charged on both counts. His motion for post-verdict judgment
of acquittal and a motion for new trial were both denied by
the trial court prior to sentencing. On June 1, 2016, Van
Nortrick was sentenced to 45 years at hard labor for each
conviction, with the first 25 years of each sentence to be
served without the benefit of parole, probation, or
suspension of sentence. The trial court ordered the sentences
to be served consecutively.
Nortrick subsequently filed a motion to reconsider sentence,
arguing that his consecutive sentences were
unconstitutionally excessive, especially in light of his poor
health. The trial court denied his motion. Van Nortrick's
motion for an out-of-time appeal was granted, and this appeal
of the Evidence
a counseled and pro se assignment of error, Van
Nortrick argues that the evidence presented was insufficient
to convict him. Specifically, Van Nortrick challenges the
accuracy of J.M.'s testimony given her traumatic brain
injury. Further, he alleges that J.M. and R.M. held some
animosity toward him because he had a sexual relationship
with their mother when he lived with the family and took his
son, J.M. and R.M.'s cousin, away from them when he moved
out of state. In further support of his claim that the
evidence was insufficient, Van Nortrick points to his trial
testimony wherein he denied ever touching J.M. or R.M.
inappropriately. We disagree and note the following evidence
that was adduced at trial.
who identified Van Nortrick in open court and explained that
she knew him because he had been married to her stepsister,
testified that J.M. was prescribed to keep a journal in order
to assist with the recuperation for her brain injury. Clark
was instructed to read the journal for accuracy, and as a
result she read J.M.'s entries regarding Van
Nortrick's actions with both girls. Distressed, Clark
spoke with the girls, who individually confirmed the
allegations to Clark. As a result of the journal entries and
the resultant conversations, on July 3, 2013-a day after
learning of Van Nortrick's inappropriate contact with her
nieces-Clark went to the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office
to report the incidents. Because the alleged crimes occurred
in Caddo Parish, her report was forwarded to the Caddo Parish
Sheriff's Office. Clark brought the girls to the
Gingerbread House the following week to be interviewed.
to Clark, at the time of trial J.M. was in high school and a
good student-visual impairment was the only substantial
impairment she continued to suffer as a result of the
automobile accident. J.M. is completely blind in her left eye
and has limited vision in her right eye.
Person, a forensic interviewer at the Gingerbread House, also
testified at trial. According to Person, she interviewed both
J.M. and R.M. separately on July 10, 2013. Person explained
that, as is the policy at the Gingerbread House, she asked
both girls non-leading questions to gather information
regarding any sexual abuse the children may have suffered.
Person identified video recordings of the interviews. Person
also identified notes she took during the interviews and
anatomical drawings which were used by J.M. and R.M. during
their respective interviews to indicate where they had been
touched, or had touched another person, on the genitals.
sisters' father, P.M., testified at trial as well. He
stated that during 2009 and 2010, Van Nortrick and his young
son were living in P.M.'s home, along with P.M.'s
wife, his daughters, and his son. P.M. worked two jobs to
support his family and explained that his wife, who was
hospitalized for some time while Van Nortrick was living with
the couple, was unable to keep a job. According to P.M., Van
Nortrick exercised control or supervision over both R.M. and
J.M. during various times. P.M. was unaware that Van Nortrick
was sexually abusing his daughters, but suspected that Van
Nortrick was engaged in a sexual relationship with his wife.
testified at trial that in 2009 and 2010, she was living with
her parents, her sister, her brother, Van Nortrick, and his
son in her parents' home. J.M. corroborated Clark's
testimony that as part of her rehabilitation she wrote in a
journal daily. J.M. identified entries from her journal in
open court and recounted speaking with Clark about the fact
that Van Nortrick had touched her and her sister
recalled going to the Gingerbread House and being
interviewed, and her interview was then played in open court.
In the video, J.M. stated that two men who had lived with her
family, Mark Vincent and Van Nortrick, had "touched her
in a way she wasn't supposed to be touched." J.M.
stated that sometime in 2009 or 2010, when her family was
living in Shreveport and Mooringsport, Nortrick "put his
finger in me" and "tried to put his you know what
in me." J.M. also stated that Notrick "tried to put
his you know what in my butt" and wanted J.M. to
"touch his you know what" but she refused. J.M.
used anatomical drawings of a woman and a man to circle the
body parts she identified as a "T.T." and a
"you know what." Van Nortrick told J.M. not to tell
anyone what he had done to her. J.M. explained that she
witnessed Van Nortrick putting his finger in R.M.'s
"T.T." and tried ...