State v. Kirton
|17 December 2008
|671 S.E.2d 107,381 S.C. 7
|South Carolina Court of Appeals
|The STATE, Respondent, v. Bruce E. KIRTON, Appellant.
Bruce Kirton (Kirton) appeals his conviction for criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree. We affirm.
Bruce Kirton was convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree and sentenced to twelve years in prison. The indictment alleged:
That Bruce Edward Kirton did in Georgetown County on or between December 1, 2005 and February 21, 2006 engage in sexual battery with a victim at least eleven years of age but less than fourteen, [Victim,] to wit: the defendant did have sexual intercourse with the victim, [Victim,] whose date of birth is . This is in violation of Section 16-3-0655(2), S.C.Code of Laws, 1976, as amended.
The thirteen year old victim (Victim) answered the assistant solicitor's questions on direct examination:
And, um, where—how old were you?
Do you remember what grade you were in?
And, um, where did he touch you?
And do you remember if you had your clothes on or off?
And what about him? Did he have his clothes—his pants on?
And how did that happen? Did he pull his pants down or how did—do you remember?
And he did what with you hand?
And is that the only time anything like that ever happened to you?
How often did it happen?
What kind of things did he do to you a couple of times a month?
Where did he touch you?
And, ah, do you know when the first time was when he touched you in your crotch?
Do you remember about how long it was?
And—and you say that was probably more than a year ago?
Let me ask you this. You said it happened a couple of times a month. Right?
. . .
Tell me—tell me what happened the last times.
. . .
Q: I said were you—you were laying on the couch before he came in, and I was about to ask the question.
Which is, um, when he inserted his penis into your crotch, were you—was he on— how were y'all positioned on the couch?
A: I was laying down, and he was on his knees.
. . .
. . .
Were you afraid?
. . .
. . .
And you told your mom, and then after that, did you go to see a lady named Dr. Carol Rahter?
And did you tell her basically what happened?
A: Yes, sir.
. . .
. . .
Dr. Carol Ann Rahter conducted a forensic interview with Victim on March 2, 2006. The forensic interview consisted of a one-on-one conversation lasting approximately thirty minutes followed by a medical examination. Dr. Rahter advised the purpose of a forensic interview of a child victim of sexual assault is to determine what happened to the child to ascertain (1) what kind of medical treatment is needed and (2) whether it is safe for the child to return to his or her environment. Dr. Rahter has conducted over a thousand forensic interviews with child victims of sexual assault since 1993. Dr. Rahter asserted on direct examination:
Now, we all know that when you're about seven, you're about—you're either in first grade depending on your birthday or second grade. You're not in fourth grade. Um, so that was—she has a little difficulty with time.
That's when she said the first time happened.
She told me that the last time happened approximately or about—I think she used the word "about" four weekends before.
. . .
I mean, I've got a teenager. She can't tell you the date of anything.
It's just they're not small adults. They're children, and their time frames are not the same as adults. They don't write checks. They don't know—write dates down all the time, and so frequently children will tell me, "It happened a lot of times."
And when I'll say to them, "Does that mean less than five or more than five?"
They'll say, "More than five."
But they can't tell me how many times.
But when you go on and interview them, they'll end up saying that it happened every weekend over a three year period of time.
Well, then, obviously, that's a lot more than five.
They have a lot of difficulty quantitating [sic] and telling specifics about dates.
They can tell nighttime and daytime. They can sometimes tell you it was before Christmas or after Christmas or, "It was before my birthday or after my birthday," or it was in the summertime and school was not going on but they have a lot of difficulty telling me a specific date, a specific month, specific quantities of the times—of how many times something occurs to them.
Also, when there is an extended period of time where children have been assaulted, a lot of that blends together. So sometimes they'll report something that was actually several different incidents as if it was all in one day, and so sometimes it doesn't—it just doesn't make logical sense the way they're reporting but that's just what we see. They blend things, and so it's not— sometimes it doesn't make logical sense with dating and reporting.
So they can oftentimes tell you specific about when things transitioned, when different acts started occurring to them, and oftentimes, they can tell you more specific detail if it was something like it always happened in the house but one time it happened in their car on the way to Wal-Mart.
But when the assaults are occurring in the same setting, they're very blended together, especially if it happens over a number of years....
To continue readingRequest your trial
State v. Green
...of improper evidence is harmless when such is cumulative to other unobjected-to evidence admitted at trial); State v. Kirton , 381 S.C. 7, 37-38, 671 S.E.2d 107, 122 (Ct. App. 2008) (finding, while an objection to the testimony presented by the victim was preserved, appellant failed to time......
State v. Bell
...has been conclusively proven by competent evidence such that no other rational conclusion can be reached. " State v. Kirton , 381 S.C. 7, 37, 671 S.E.2d 107, 122 (Ct. App. 2008) (emphasis added).In State v. King , our supreme court found the erroneous admission of prior bad acts evidence co......
Stat v. Washington
...toward the same victim and are very similar in nature, those acts are admissible as a common scheme or plan." State v. Kirton, 381 S.C. 7, 27, 671 S.E.2d 107, 117 (Ct. App. 2008). Here, the similarities between all of the incidents described by Minor in the interview strongly outweigh the d......
State v. Washington
...strongly outweigh the dissimilarities. The following details are consistent among all of the alleged assaults: 1) Minor was the victim, see id. ("When a criminal defendant's bad acts directed toward the same victim and are very similar in nature, those acts are admissible as a common sche......