APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 14-2922, DIVISION
"C" HONORABLE JUNE B. DARENSBURG, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr., Terry M. Boudreaux.
L. Clark COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, RICKY J. GROS, Lieu
T. Vo Clark.
composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Stephen J. Windhorst, and
Marion F. Edwards, Judge Pro Tempore.
G. GRAVOIS JUDGE.
Ricky J. Gros, appeals his convictions and sentences for two
counts of sexual battery of a juvenile under the age of
thirteen and one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile
under the age of thirteen. Specifically, he argues that the
trial court erred in granting the State's motion in
limine that prohibited defendant from questioning one of
the victims about her allegations of sexual abuse against
individuals other than defendant. For the following reasons,
we affirm defendant's convictions and original sentences,
affirm defendant's habitual offender stipulation, vacate
defendant's habitual offender sentence, and remand the
matter for resentencing under the habitual offender
stipulation in accordance with this opinion, and for
correction of the commitments as noted herein.
5, 2014, a Jefferson Parish Grand Jury indicted defendant,
Ricky J. Gros, with two counts of sexual battery of a known
juvenile under the age of thirteen (D.O.B. 5/17/1999) in
violation of La. R.S. 14:43.1 (counts one and two), and one
count of indecent behavior with a known juvenile under the
age of thirteen (D.O.B. 7/19/2001) in violation of La. R.S.
14:81 (count three). Defendant pled not guilty to the charges
at his arraignment on July 31, 2014. On September 9, 2016,
the State filed a motion in limine to preclude
questioning of one of the victims about prior allegations of
sexual assault against individuals other than defendant,
pursuant to La. C.E. art. 412. The motion was heard and
granted on September 12, 2016.
commenced the next day on September 13, 2016 before a
twelve-person jury, which on September 14, 2016 found
defendant guilty as charged on all counts. On October 12,
2016, the trial court sentenced defendant on count one
(sexual battery) to ten years imprisonment at hard labor
without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of
sentence; on count two (sexual battery) to twenty-five years
imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of probation,
parole, or suspension of sentence; and on count three
(indecent behavior with a juvenile) to ten years imprisonment
at hard labor, with the first two years of the sentence to be
without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of
sentence. The trial court further ordered the sentences to
run concurrently. After sentencing on October 12, 2016, the
State filed a habitual offender bill of information on count
three, alleging defendant to be a second felony offender, to
which defendant stipulated on November 14, 2016. The trial
court then vacated defendant's sentence on count three
and resentenced defendant as a second felony offender
pursuant to La. R.S. 15:529.1 to twenty-five years
imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of probation
or suspension of sentence, to run concurrently with his other
sentences. On December 12, 2016, defendant filed a Motion for
Appeal, which was granted by the trial court on
December 13, 2016. This appeal followed.
October 2010, Detective Kay Horne with the Jefferson Parish
Sheriff's Office Personal Violence Unit was assigned the
investigation of defendant, involving allegations of sexual
abuse made by two juvenile victims, D.M. and
Detective Horne first followed up with T.L., the mother of
T.W., who initially reported the allegations to the
police. At trial, T.L. testified that on October
21, 2010, her daughter T.W. disclosed to her that
defendant had sexually abused her when she was
eleven years old.
Horne contacted T.L. and set up a forensic interview for
T.W., which occurred on November 8, 2010. From information
T.W. revealed in her forensic interview, Detective Horne
learned of another victim, D.M., who is T.W.'s cousin,
and contacted her mother, D.B., about the allegations and
subsequently set up a forensic interview with D.M. Both
T.W.'s and D.M.'s forensic interviews were
videotaped, admitted into evidence, and published to the
trial, T.W., who was seventeen years old at that time,
testified that when she was between the ages of six and nine,
she would regularly go to her aunt D.G. and defendant's
house, about two to three times a week. She described that
when she would go to their house, defendant would "put
his hands underneath [her] pants and underneath [her]
underwear, and he would touch [her] vagina and he would move
his hands around [her], and he would move it inside of
[her]." She recalled that this behavior would occur when
they were in the living room on the sofa with her sitting on
defendant's lap. She testified that she finally told her
aunt about the abuse. Her aunt told T.W. that she would
"take care of it, " but she never did. T.W.
described that the abuse stopped because she stopped going
over to defendant's house.
trial, D.M., who was fifteen years old at that time,
testified that she stopped going to her grandmother (D.G.)
and defendant's house "because of the
incident." She described that defendant would touch her
in her 'vaginal area, " but could not recall how old
she was or how many times this behavior occurred. She
similarly testified that this abuse occurred at
defendant's house while they were sitting on the sofa.
Troy, a nurse practitioner at Children's Hospital, who
was qualified as an expert in the field of forensic
pediatrics and child abuse, including physical and sexual
abuse, as well as delayed disclosure, testified that she
examined both T.W. and D.M. In November 2010, she examined
T.W. and concluded that she gave a "clear and detailed
history of sexual abuse" by defendant "involving
digital genital contact over 20 times at her aunt's home
in Marrero, from the age of 7 until 10" and that her
cousin D.M. was "abused simultaneously" at age
nine. Ms. Troy examined D.M. on ...