State v. McKenzie-Adams, 17451.

Decision Date27 February 2007
Docket NumberNo. 17451.,17451.
Citation915 A.2d 822,281 Conn. 486
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Van Clifton McKENZIE-ADAMS.

Richard Emanuel, New Haven, for the appellant (defendant).

Bruce R. Lockwood, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Michael Dearington, state's attorney, and Eugene Calistro, Jr., senior assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

Richard Blumenthal, attorney general, and Clare E. Kindall, assistant attorney general, filed a brief for the state board of education et al. as amici curiae.



The defendant, Van Clifton McKenzie-Adams, appeals1 from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of thirteen counts of sexual assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-71 (a)(8).2 The defendant raises four claims on appeal: (1) § 53a-71 (a)(8), which prohibits, inter alia, a teacher from engaging in sexual intercourse with a student enrolled in the school system in which the teacher is employed, violates the defendant's right of sexual privacy under the federal and state constitutions; (2) the trial court improperly consolidated two separate cases against the defendant for trial; (3) the trial court improperly admitted evidence of uncharged sexual misconduct to establish a common scheme or plan; and (4) the trial court improperly admitted constancy of accusation evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

In connection with two separate victims, the defendant was charged, in four informations,3 with fourteen counts of sexual assault in the second degree in violation of § 53a-71 (a)(8). The trial court consolidated the four cases against the defendant for trial, and the jury found the defendant guilty of all charges. Thereafter, the defendant moved for judgments of acquittal and, on April 14, 2004, the trial court granted the motion with respect to count four of the information in Docket No. CR02-0004040-T. See footnote 3 of this opinion. The trial court subsequently rendered judgments of conviction in accordance with the jury's verdict on the remaining charges, and this appeal followed.

The jury reasonably could have found the following relevant facts. From September 2000, through October, 2001, the defendant was employed by the New Haven board of education as a Latin teacher at Hill Regional Career Magnet High School (Career School), which is a secondary school located in the city of New Haven. The first victim, N.R., was a student enrolled in Career School from September, 2000, through June, 2002, and the second victim, P.L., was a student enrolled in Career School from January, 2001, through June, 2002.4

In September, 2000, N.R. was sixteen years old5 and a junior enrolled in the defendant's Latin class. At some point in the fall of that year, the defendant began to tutor N.R. in the subjects of Latin and math. N.R. would meet the defendant in the Career School library almost every school day to receive tutoring in these subjects. Eventually, the defendant and N.R. began to develop a personal relationship. N.R. began to confide in the defendant concerning her personal problems, such as her strained relationship with her mother. Likewise, the defendant began to confide in N.R. concerning his family and his relationship with his wife and his two children. Although the defendant often embraced his female students, including N.R., the physical contact between the defendant and N.R. became more frequent and intimate as their personal relationship deepened. The defendant began to embrace N.R. more tightly and sometimes pinched her buttocks, even when other students were present. Additionally, the defendant often commented on N.R.'s physical appearance. For example, the defendant frequently told N.R. that she had an "outrageous body" and that she "shouldn't let it go to waste."6

One afternoon, while N.R. and her friend S.B. were in the back corner of the Career School library talking to the defendant, the defendant suddenly kissed N.R. on the lips. Although N.R. was surprised by the kiss, she enjoyed it and was flattered by the defendant's attention. Sometime thereafter, the defendant offered to give N.R. and S.B. a ride home from school. Both girls accepted the defendant's offer, and the defendant drove them to downtown New Haven, where he dropped S.B. off at a bus stop. The defendant then asked N.R. if she would like to go for a drive, and N.R. responded that she "didn't care, [because she] didn't have to be right home. . . ." The defendant drove N.R. to Long Wharf, which is located in the city of New Haven. The defendant and N.R. walked along the beach at Long Wharf, until they reached a secluded area, where they sat down on a nearby log. The defendant began to rub N.R.'s legs, and told her to sit on his lap. N.R. complied, and the defendant kissed her on the lips. The defendant proceeded to pull down the front of N.R.'s dress, revealing her breasts, and then kissed her breasts. N.R. "just kind of sat there and let him" kiss her for a few minutes. Afterward, the defendant dropped N.R. off near her home.

The defendant and N.R. continued to maintain a sexual relationship through the summer of 2001. One afternoon in July, 2001, the defendant drove N.R. to East Rock Park, which is located in the city of New Haven. While parked in the defendant's car, the defendant began to rub N.R.'s legs and to kiss her lips. At some point, he moved his hands beneath N.R.'s skirt, and began to rub her vagina over her underwear. The defendant eventually shifted N.R.'s underwear aside, and penetrated her vagina digitally. N.R. testified that she had "liked it" and had "let him do it." At another point in July, 2001, the defendant drove N.R. to Foote School, which is located in the city of New Haven. After parking his car on the street, the defendant began to rub N.R.'s legs and to kiss her lips, eventually moving his hands beneath her skirt and penetrating her vagina digitally. On another occasion, the defendant performed oral sex on N.R. in a secluded corner of the Fairfield University Library, which is located in the city of Fairfield. At some point in July or August, 2001, while the defendant and N.R. were parked in a car in the parking lot of East Rock Park, the defendant asked N.R. "when [she] was going to suck his dick," and she responded that she "wasn't going to." Thereafter, the defendant and N.R. discontinued their sexual relationship because N.R. had realized that "it wasn't right what was going on. . . ."

Meanwhile, on January 2, 2001, P.L., who was then sixteen years old,7 enrolled in Career School as a junior. On her first day of school, P.L. was introduced to the defendant by a fellow student. At this first meeting, the defendant told P.L. that she was "a very pretty girl. . . ." Although P.L. was not a student in the defendant's Latin class, she often spent her free time in the Career School library, where the defendant's office was located. The defendant and P.L. soon began to meet in the library almost everyday, where they would talk about "everything," including P.L.'s dysfunctional relationship with her family and her relationship with her boyfriend. P.L. considered the defendant to be her counselor and friend. Indeed, whenever the defendant saw P.L., he would embrace her, hold her hand or kiss her on the cheek.

Sometime during the last week of classes at Career School in June, 2001, P.L. visited the defendant in his classroom. The defendant was sitting at his desk working on his computer, and P.L. sat down beside him. Although other students were present in the classroom, the defendant grabbed P.L.'s hand and intertwined his fingers with hers. P.L. began to flip through the defendant's daily planner, which was located on his desk, and immediately noticed a photograph of N.R. inside. The defendant explained to P.L. that N.R. had given the photograph to him, and chastised P.L. for her failure to do the same. At that point, the bell signaling the end of classes rang and the remaining students disbursed from the classroom. P.L. rose from her seat, and leaned forward to hug the defendant goodbye. The defendant embraced P.L. tightly and proceeded to kiss her on the neck, the cheek and the lips. P.L. was shocked, surprised and amazed by the kiss.

During the summer of 2001, the defendant was employed as a math instructor in Aspirations for Higher Learning (Aspirations), a six week long college preparatory program administered by the New Haven Public Schools. During this same time period, P.L. was enrolled as a student in Aspirations. On the morning of June 9, 2001, the defendant picked P.L. up at her home and drove her to the Aspirations orientation to take a placement exam in connection with the Aspirations program. After the exam, the defendant drove P.L. home, parking his car some distance from her house.8 The defendant proceeded to kiss P.L. on the lips, to fondle her breasts and buttocks, and to penetrate her vagina digitally. Thereafter, the defendant unzipped his pants and exposed his penis. The defendant told P.L., "I'm going to make you do this," and he pushed her head toward his penis. Although P.L. was surprised, she put the defendant's penis in her mouth for a few seconds. Afterward, as P.L. was leaving the defendant's car, he kissed her goodbye and slapped her buttocks.

On another occasion in the summer of 2001, the defendant drove P.L. to the Fairfield University Library. The defendant explained to her that "libraries made him horny," and directed her to a secluded corner on the second floor of the library. The defendant proceeded to kiss P.L. on the lips and to run his hands over her body. The defendant then informed P.L. that it is "an honor when a woman opens or spreads her legs out to a man. . . ." In response, P.L. opened her legs, whereupon the defendant unbuttoned his pants and...

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