State v. Rainey, 2014–348–M.P.(P1/12-463A)

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
Citation175 A.3d 1169
Docket NumberNo. 2014–348–M.P.(P1/12-463A),2014–348–M.P.(P1/12-463A)
Parties STATE v. John RAINEY.
Decision Date11 January 2018

Jane M. McSoley, Department of Attorney General, for State.

Kara J. Maguire, Office of the Public Defender, for Defendant.

Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

Justice Indeglia, for the Court.

The defendant, John Rainey (defendant or Rainey), is before this Court on a writ of certiorari1 after a Providence County jury found him guilty of two counts of first-degree child molestation and one count of second-degree child molestation. The defendant was sentenced to sixty years, with fifty to serve and ten suspended, on each count of first-degree child molestation, and fifteen years to serve on the second-degree count; all sentences are set to run concurrently. For the reasons set forth herein, we affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.

IFacts and Travel

In the fall of 2011, Anna,2 then an adult, disclosed to authorities that she had been sexually assaulted on multiple occasions by defendant when she was a child; he was her mother's boyfriend at the time. On February 2, 2012, a Providence County grand jury returned a true bill charging defendant with the following counts: (1) between October 1, 1987 and August 22, 1988, sexual penetration, to wit, penile/vaginal penetration, with Anna, a person fourteen years of age or under, in violation of G.L. 1956 §§ 11–37–8.1 and 11–37–8.2 ; (2) between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 1990, sexual penetration, to wit, penile/vaginal penetration, with Anna, a person fourteen years of age or under, in violation of §§ 11–37–8.1 and 11–37–8.2 ; and (3) between April 1, 1992 and August 30, 1992, sexual contact, to wit, hand to breast, with Anna, a person fourteen years of age or under, in violation of §§ 11–37–8.3 and 11–37–8.4. At the time of defendant's trial in 2013, Anna was thirty-four years old; she testified that he had committed the above crimes when she was between the ages of eight and thirteen.

At defendant's trial, Anna recounted those traumatic events from her childhood.3 When Anna was eight years old, defendant came to live with her and her mother at their home on Manton Avenue in Providence. Without a father figure in her life, Anna was happy to call defendant "Dad." However, defendant and Anna's mother drank heavily together, impacting Anna and her mother's relationship. Soon, Anna's initially pleasant relationship with defendant began to change. Her mother would often leave Anna alone with defendant when he was not working, and he was usually intoxicated. One night, when Anna was in bed, defendant—completely naked—entered her bedroom and lay down next to her. Scared, Anna pretended to be asleep for the couple of minutes that defendant remained there.4 The next morning, Anna relayed to her mother what had happened. Her mother told her that defendant had simply been drunk and had gone into the wrong room. At that time, her mother was pregnant with defendant's child.

Before Anna's half-sister was born on August 22, 1988, defendant imposed himself on Anna once again. That day, Anna was home alone with defendant. She was sitting on the couch, curled up in the fetal position, in her pajamas watching cartoons. The defendant approached her and asked if she wanted to do something fun; as an eight- or nine-year old, Anna believed that defendant was referring to a game and answered affirmatively. At that point, defendant pulled her legs down and laid her flat on the couch. He proceeded to climb on top of her, straddled over her with his legs on either side of her body. As he removed her pants, Anna told him that she did not like what was happening. Undeterred, defendant took off his pants. He then rubbed his penis against her vagina. Anna testified that, during this encounter, defendant put his penis inside her "labia."5 She did not tell anyone because she was scared, and she did not think her mother would believe her this time, just as she had not believed her previously.

The next incident occurred mere months after Anna's half-sister was born, just before Christmas of 1988. The defendant brought Anna, then nine years old, to the mall so she could buy a Christmas gift for her mother. Upon arriving in the mall parking lot, defendant told Anna he would give her money to purchase her mother's gift if she would first do something for him. The defendant then unzipped his pants, grabbed Anna's head, and placed her mouth on his penis, all the while directing her actions. After ejaculating in her mouth, defendant gave Anna the money he had promised her, and she went into the mall and bought a gift for her mother.6 Again, Anna told no one what had happened. Her self-described "awkward" relationship with defendant persisted, although she "didn't know what was happening was wrong."

In the spring of 1989, defendant and Anna's mother moved Anna and her infant half-sister to Kentucky, where defendant had accepted a job. Shortly thereafter, the four of them moved to Chicago for the same reason. By that point, the drinking by defendant and Anna's mother had become "excessive," according to Anna. One evening, when Anna's mother was passed out—"inebriated to the point where [she couldn't] function"defendant said to Anna, "I want you to watch what I'm going to do to your mom." He then made Anna hide behind a chair and watch him have sex with her mother.7 By this point, Anna thought of defendant as "a very scary guy."

Eventually, Anna's mother decided to leave defendant, and she, Anna, and Anna's half-sister moved back to Rhode Island without him. They stayed with Anna's grandparents in Warwick until just after Christmas of 1989. In the beginning of 1990, they moved to Sterling Avenue in Providence. There, Anna learned that her mother was pregnant with defendant's child yet again. Shortly before Anna's second half-sister was born on May 21, 1990, defendant came back into their lives, moving into the Sterling Avenue home. However, his return was short-lived; he left soon after the baby's birth.

Despite his abbreviated return, yet another incident occurred during the short time defendant lived with Anna. On a day when Anna's mother was out of the house, after Anna's eleventh birthday, defendant again molested her. In defendant and her mother's bedroom, defendant forcefully pushed Anna onto the bed. After completely undressing her and removing his own clothes, defendant lay "[f]ully on top of [Anna], between [her] legs." Anna testified that "[h]e proceeded to put his penis into [her] vagina again" and then ejaculated on her stomach.8 When he got up, according to Anna, defendant threatened to "beat the hell out of [her] mother" if Anna ever told anyone what he had done.

For reasons unrelated to the abuse, Anna's mother kicked defendant out of the house a few months later. In 1992, defendant expressed his desire to spend a weekend with his daughters, Anna's half-sisters. Anna's mother made Anna, who was then thirteen years old, go and "keep an eye on the girls." Anna's grandfather dropped her and her half-sisters off at a parking lot, where defendant was waiting to pick them up. Anna fastened her half-sisters into the back seat of the car before climbing in through the rear driver's side door. The defendant, standing at the open driver's door, reached back and grabbed Anna's breast.9 He told her that she was "filling out very nicely." Anna testified that, by this point, she was no longer afraid of defendant, so she slapped his hand away and told him never to touch her again.

When Anna was sixteen years old, a high-school health class discussion about sexual harassment motivated her to finally reveal to her mother defendant's repeated abuse. After telling her mother, Anna was met by her mother's blank stare, followed by her mother telling her that she had heard defendant had moved out of state, so there was nothing they could do about the abuse. Anna felt that her mother did not believe her.

In 2011, Anna reported the abuse to the Providence police. Prompting Anna's disclosure was her half-sister's Facebook post, from which Anna learned that defendant had been arrested for similar crimes. Anna testified that, had she not received that information, she would not have come forward with her own allegations against defendant.

In the case Anna learned about on Facebook, the alleged victim was defendant's biological daughter (by a woman other than Anna's mother), Beth.10 However, those charges against defendant had been dropped because of Beth's unwillingness to testify when she was sixteen years old. Two years later, Beth expressed interest in Anna's case because of Beth's relationship to defendant. She texted the prosecutor on the eve of defendant's trial, which was set to start on May 30, 2013, to check on its progress. Apparently emboldened by the time that had passed since she was reluctant to testify as to her own allegations, Beth agreed to testify in Anna's case as a witness for the state. Due to the last-minute discovery revealed to defense counsel on Thursday, May 30, 2013—last-minute as to both the existence of Beth as an expected witness and the anticipated contents of her testimony—the trial justice directed the state to wait until the following Monday, June 3, 2013, to call Beth to the stand, thereby giving defense counsel the weekend to prepare.

On that Monday, Beth testified to a sexual assault that defendant, her biological father, attempted on her in 2003, when she was eight years old. Beth recounted that she went to visit her father at his single-room apartment in Cumberland for the first time since he had moved there. The defendant was angry for reasons unknown to Beth and asked her to sit on the bed. She did so, and he walked over to her yelling and calling her names. As Beth sat on the edge of the bed, defendant pushed her back on the bed with one hand and began taking his and her clothes off; Beth struggled to get up, but was unable to do so. The...

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  • State v. Perry
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 6 Mayo 2020
    ......Rainey , 175 A.3d 1169, 1182–83 (R.I. 2018) (considering a list of factors virtually identical to those enumerated in Wallace and concluding those factors established a common scheme or plan to molest, "for all intents and purposes, daughters in [the defendant's] 430 S.C. 51 life"); see also ......
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    • 8 Julio 2020
    ...doctrine" during the course of a trial).AnalysisOn appeal, defendant points to this Court's recent decision in State v. Rainey , 175 A.3d 1169 (R.I. 2018), and argues that before "allowing the introduction of bad character evidence, the trial court must conduct an analysis to determine not ......
  • State v. Perry
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    ...decision to admit the 404(b) witnesses' testimony, "we examine that issue under an abuse-of-discretion standard." State v. Rainey , 175 A.3d 1169, 1182 (R.I. 2018). "If the evidence was admitted under Rule 404(b), then ‘this Court is disinclined to perceive an abuse of discretion so long as......
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    ...come to trial as well equipped as possible to raise reasonable doubt in the minds of one or more of the jurors." State v. Rainey , 175 A.3d 1169, 1179 (R.I. 2018) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Simpson , 595 A.2d at 808 ("Trial lawyers must be able to adapt strategy to evolvin......
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