State v. Nelson, No. 2508

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtGOOLSBY
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Larry Don NELSON, Appellant. . Heard
Decision Date03 April 1996
Docket NumberNo. 2508

Page 767

471 S.E.2d 767
322 S.C. 377
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Larry Don NELSON, Appellant.
No. 2508.
Court of Appeals of South Carolina.
Heard April 3, 1996.
Decided May 13, 1996.
Rehearing Denied June 21, 1996.
Certiorari Granted Feb. 7, 1997.

[322 S.C. 378] Jack Swerling, Columbia, for appellant.

Attorney General Charles Molony Condon, Chief Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, Assistant Attorneys General Harold M. Coombs, Jr., and William Edgar Salter, III, Columbia; and Solicitor Donald V. Myers, Lexington, for respondent.

Page 768

GOOLSBY, Judge:

Larry Don Nelson appeals his conviction on four counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree and four counts of lewd act on a minor. We affirm.

Beginning in 1991, Amber Hayes, the three year old victim, accompanied her father to visit his friend, James Nelson. Larry Don Nelson lived with his mother and his brother James. During these visits, Amber spent time alone with Larry. On June 8, 1992, Dr. Graham, Amber's pediatrician, examined her and, as a result, suspected sexual abuse. He referred Amber to Dr. Breeland, a codirector of a clinic for children suspected of having been physically or sexually abused. After examining Amber on June 10, 1992, Dr. Breeland concluded Amber had been sexually abused. As a result of these findings, Dr. Breeland contacted D.S.S. D.S.S. removed Amber from her home on June 11, 1992, and placed her in the care of her grandmother.

After receiving counseling from Beth Maris, a sexual trauma therapist, Amber was returned to her home on August 21, 1992. Eventually, Amber told Maris and her grandmother that Larry Nelson and James Nelson had abused her. Amber's mother then contacted D.S.S. James and Larry Nelson were subsequently arrested and charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor. 1

[322 S.C. 379] At trial, the State introduced Amber's testimony through a video deposition. At the time of her deposition, Amber was five years old. Amber testified Larry Nelson sexually molested her on three separate occasions.

The State also offered testimony from Maris, a licensed independent clinical social worker and a certified sex therapist. Maris was qualified as an expert in the area of sexual therapy and the subsection of that area of sexual trauma and abuse of children. Maris testified she began seeing Amber around July 20, 1992. She interviewed Amber's family and concluded it was not an abusive family. As a result of her findings, Maris submitted a written report dated August 14, 1992, to D.S.S. recommending Amber be returned to her family. Maris testified she did not know the identity of the perpetrators at the time she submitted her report. After subsequent counseling, Amber identified her assailants to Maris, who in turn told Amber's parents. Maris stated in her opinion Amber was sexually abused.

Maris further testified she had worked with pedophiles and child abusers. She testified pedophiles and child abusers have sexual fantasies about children. Maris stated, "They see themselves as the children's friends, the one that really cares about the children. They relate to them in a sexual way and they don't see that as hurtful." Maris testified it would be consistent with the condition of pedophilia for an individual to have videotapes containing children's programs, children's books, children's clothing, children's toys, photographs, drawings, and pictures. Maris stated a pedophile would use these items for sexual stimulation and fantasy of children.

The State also offered the testimony of Charles William Belk, Sr., and Wendy Frazier, of the City of West Columbia Police Department. Belk testified he assisted investigator Frazier in the arrest of Nelson on September 29, 1992. Belk and Frazier interviewed Nelson. Belk testified Nelson indicated he was uncomfortable speaking in front of Frazier because he did not like adult women and could not trust them. With respect to Amber, Belk testified Nelson stated she was a precious little girl and that he loved her very much and did not want her hurt or anything to happen to her.

Belk testified Nelson voluntarily consented to a search of his residence. Belk stated he found two stuffed animals in [322 S.C. 380] Nelson's bedroom closet, a Cookie Monster and an Oscar the Grouch. The State entered both into evidence without objection.

Belk further testified he interviewed Nelson on the morning of September 30, 1992. He testified Nelson stated he had had fantasies about small girls and children in general. Belk testified Nelson found children to be

Page 769

sweet and innocent and good and told him he idolized Punky Brewster and wished all women were as honest and sweet as she was.

Belk testified Nelson told him he had the opportunity to molest Amber but did not because he loved her too much and he did not want to see her hurt. Frazier also testified Nelson made that statement. Belk further testified Nelson stated he enjoyed playing games with Amber. Belk testified Nelson told him he enjoyed playing "Cookie Monster" and "doctor" with Amber. Belk testified when he asked Nelson what he meant by "playing doctor," Nelson just stared at him.

Frazier testified after the interview she and Belk searched Nelson's bedroom as well as James Nelson's bedroom. Frazier testified over objection there were fifty-eight videotapes, which included children's videotapes. A...

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2 practice notes
  • State v. Nelson, No. 24778.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 6, 1998
    ...of lewd act. The sentences were ordered to run consecutively. The Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction. State v. Nelson, 322 S.C. 377, 471 S.E.2d 767 (Ct.App. 1996). This Court granted certiorari to consider whether certain evidence was properly admitted at trial. We find it wa......
  • State v. Luckabaugh, No. 2689
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 3, 1997
    ...evidence any less relevant to the central issue in the case, namely, his alleged intent to commit a sexual battery. See State v. Nelson, 322 S.C. 377, 471 S.E.2d 767 (Ct.App.1996) (criminal sexual conduct case in which the court of [327 S.C. 501] appeals upheld the trial court's admission o......
2 cases
  • State v. Nelson, No. 24778.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 6, 1998
    ...of lewd act. The sentences were ordered to run consecutively. The Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction. State v. Nelson, 322 S.C. 377, 471 S.E.2d 767 (Ct.App. 1996). This Court granted certiorari to consider whether certain evidence was properly admitted at trial. We find it wa......
  • State v. Luckabaugh, No. 2689
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 3, 1997
    ...evidence any less relevant to the central issue in the case, namely, his alleged intent to commit a sexual battery. See State v. Nelson, 322 S.C. 377, 471 S.E.2d 767 (Ct.App.1996) (criminal sexual conduct case in which the court of [327 S.C. 501] appeals upheld the trial court's admission o......

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