US v. Stamper, Crim. No. B-CR-90-174.

Decision Date12 June 1991
Docket NumberCrim. No. B-CR-90-174.
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of North Carolina
PartiesUNITED STATES of America v. Dewayne STAMPER.

Thomas J. Ashcraft, U.S. Atty., Thomas Asick, Asst. U.S. Atty., Asheville, N.C., for plaintiff.

Robert B. Long, Jr., William A. Parker, Asheville, N.C., for defendant.



Defendant moved for permission to introduce certain evidence notwithstanding the provisions of Fed.R.Evid. 412. Defendant's Motion Pursuant to Rule 412 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, filed November 9, 1990 (Pleading No. 25). The proffered evidence consists of cross examination of the prosecuting witness, an alleged statutory rape victim (hereinafter "complainant"), and certain extrinsic evidence, all intended to show that in the past the complainant had schemed to accomplish certain personal goals by falsely accusing three older men of sexual abuse. Defendant contends this evidence is admissible to show complainant's improper motive and plan in falsely accusing Defendant in the instant case. He seeks also the admission of information from certain medical and psychological reports. The admissibility of particular evidence not discussed herein and arising out of the medical and psychologists' reports will be dealt with at trial time. The Government has opposed admission of much of the evidence sought by Defendant. See Government's Notice of Intent to Oppose Certain Evidence, filed October 17, 1990 (Pleading No. 23). The proffered evidence will be allowed as provided in this Order.

A. Procedural History

On December 3, 1990, the captioned criminal case was called for trial, and jury selection began. On that day Defendant filed a brief supporting his position on the proffered evidence.

On December 4, 1990, after voir dire had resulted in the selection of eight jurors, the Government notified the Court of the complainant's desire to have independent counsel appointed for the protection of her privacy interests, pursuant to the policies enunciated in Doe v. United States, 666 F.2d 43, 46 (4th Cir.1981), In re McDaniel, 861 F.2d 714 (4th Cir.1988) (unpublished opinion), and United States v. Saunders, 736 F.Supp. 698, 700 (E.D.Va.1990). After consulting with the complainant, the Court appointed attorney Steven Lindsay to represent her interests. The Court then conducted an in camera hearing to determine the admissibility of Defendant's proffered evidence. The Court heard testimony from, and all three parties were permitted to examine, the following witnesses: complainant; complainant's mother, Maxine Beck; complainant's father, Jack Beck; and two of the three men previously accused by the complainant of sexual abuse, Robert Francis "Bobby" Stamper (complainant's uncle) and Reuben Teesataskie (the live-in boyfriend of complainant's mother).1 Upon the Court's own motion, the case was continued so as to provide Mr. Lindsay adequate time for preparation and to allow the Court to consider Defendant's evidentiary motion. See Order, filed December 11, 1990 (Pleading No. 28). The Court therefore excused the eight jurors already selected.

The Government, counsel for the Defendant, and counsel for the complainant have since filed briefs on the question of Rule 412 evidence. Complainant's Motion to Prohibit Evidence of Alleged Prior Sexual Activity, filed January 2, 1991 (Pleading No. 29); Defendant's Supplemental Brief on Proffered Evidence, filed January 7, 1991 (Pleading No. 30); Government's Brief on Rule 412 Issue, filed January 11, 1991 (Pleading No. 31).

B. The In Camera Hearing

At the in camera hearing described above, the evidence showed:

1. Complainant is the daughter of Maxine and Jack Beck, who were divorced prior to the events herein contemplated. Jack Beck remarried and lives in the Bird Town section of the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Maxine Beck lives with her boyfriend Teesataskie in the Big Cove section of the same reservation.

2. In early 1989, approximately one year before the allegations in the instant case, complainant made allegations of sexual fondling against three persons known by both complainant and her natural parents: Teesataskie, complainant's uncle by marriage Bobby Stamper, and her first cousin Maney.

3. The prior allegations were made when complainant was living with her mother and Teesataskie, and at a time when pronounced "difficulties" existed among complainant, her mother, and Teesataskie. See, e.g., Transcript at 10 (testimony of complainant), 31 (testimony of Maxine Beck); Psychological Evaluation of Complainant by Dr. Jerry A. Coffey, at 2-3, 5 (August 8 and 21, 1990).

4. As a result of the prior allegations (and immediately after they were made), complainant moved from her mother's house to her father's house. See, e.g., Transcript, at 12 (testimony of complainant), 32 (testimony of Maxine Beck), 53 (testimony of Reuben Teesataskie), 59 (testimony of Jack Beck). The move was made for the purpose of getting complainant away from Teesataskie. Transcript, at 12 (testimony of complainant).

5. Complainant subsequently wrote a letter, the pertinent part of which reads: "Well, I told my dad that my step dad sic sexualy sic abused me. Then my dad made me talk talk sic to a counciler sic. The counciler's sic name is John. John went and told my step dad sic what I said (which is not true)". Defendant's Exhibit 3 (handwritten letter, dated March 20, 1989, from complainant to recipient identified only as Kathy) (emphasis added); Transcript, at 22 (emphasis added), 24-25 (testimony of complainant). Complainant therein identified Teesataskie as her "step dad," but he and complainant's mother were unmarried live-ins. Id. There was no mention in the letter of Bobby Stamper or Maney, or of the allegations once leveled against them.

6. Upon discovery of the letter, it was submitted to the Cherokee Police Department. Subsequently, the investigations pending against Teesataskie, Maney, and Bobby Stamper were halted, and no charges were ever brought against any of the three men. Transcript, at 17-18 (testimony of complainant), 38-39 (testimony of Maxine Beck), 47 (testimony of Bobby Stamper), 53 (testimony of Reuben Teesataskie), 60-61 (testimony of Jack Beck).

7. Complainant admitted that she had lied about the three prior alleged occurrances of sexual abuse. See Transcript, at 17-18; further discussion infra at 13.

8. Complainant has since disaffirmed this letter and other recantings, saying that the prior allegations are true. Transcript, at 16, 23 (testimony of complainant). Complainant claims that the phrase "(which is not true)" refers to the next sentence in the letter: "Reuben went and stood over my little sister Candi, and started crying because he is afraid some people will take her away for what he did!" Defendant's Exhibit 3 (emphasis in original); Transcript, at 23 (testimony of complainant). In other words, complainant contends, contrary to the way it reads literally, that the letter merely refutes the notion that someone would deprive Teesataskie of his custody of Candi because of the sexual molestation allegations, and does not disaffirm her allegations of sexual abuse against Teesataskie.

9. The allegations giving rise to the present case were made when complainant was living with her father, and when "difficulties" arose between complainant and her father. See, e.g., Transcript, at 14-16 (testimony of complainant), 40 (testimony of Maxine Beck), 63-65 (testimony of Jack Beck). More specifically, complainant was caught sneaking back into her father's house after spending an entire evening out with one Allen Littlejohn. Id. On at least one other occasion, and without her father's knowledge, complainant had snuck out of her father's house late at night to see Littlejohn and subsequently returned undetected. Id. Upon discovering his daughter's late-night activities, Jack Beck threatened to send complainant to "detention." Id.

10. Defendant, against whom the present allegations were made, is an acquaintance of complainant and a co-employee, acquaintance/friend, and fishing buddy of her father. See, e.g., Transcript, at 18, 21 (testimony of complainant), 62 (testimony of Jack Beck).

11. As a result of the present allegations (and immediately after they were made), complainant moved from her father's house back into her mother's house, still inhabited also by Teesataskie. Transcript, at 21 (testimony of complainant), 33, 40 (testimony of Maxine Beck), 65-66 (testimony of Jack Beck).

C. Issues Presented

Title 18, United States Code, §§ 2243(a) and 1153 make it a crime for an Indian person knowingly to engage in a sexual act in Indian country with another person at least 12 years old but not yet 16 and at least four years younger than the accused. Defendant is charged in two counts with commission of this offense on July 5, 1990, and again on July 16, 1990. On those dates, the complainant was a twelve year-old schoolgirl, and the Defendant was a twenty year-old dispatcher with the Cherokee Police Department. He was married, his wife of one year was expecting their first child in some five months, and he was attending community college in pursuit of law enforcement certification.

The issue before the Court might be stated as follows: in a prosecution for statutory rape, where the Government's sole incriminating evidence is the complainant's testimony and where the complainant has admitted in writing to falsely accusing her mother's boyfriend of sexual molestation on a prior occasion and has made accusations against two others under circumstances tending to show ulterior motives on her part, should the Court find to be admissible (a) cross examination of the complainant concerning such accusations, and (b) testimony by all three prior accusees that the accusations against them were false. Such evidence, according to the Defendant, is necessary...

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