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Tag Archives: Sexual Abuse

Criminal Practice – Indecent Liberties – Evidence – Witnesses’ Testimony – Victims’ Credibility – Attorneys – Ineffective Assistance Claim (access required)

State v. Dew While describing her emotional state at the time her daughters told her that defendant had sexually abused them, witness Angela M. testified that she believed her daughters. Assuming, without deciding, that the admission of this testimony was error, defendant has not shown prejudice.

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Priest’s victim still trying to collect $100M judgment (access required)

After more than two years of trying to get what a South Carolina trial court judge says he’s owed for his suffering, Allan C. Ranta still hasn’t collected one dime of a whopping $100 million civil judgment against the priest who raped him as a boy. And chances are he won’t ever see that money, unless he and his attorneys can convince the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse itself and do something that it has never done before: rule that a liability insurance policy covers acts of sexual abuse. Ranta’s argument has fallen flat so far at the 4th Circuit, which on July 24 upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Catholic Mutual insurance company was not on the hook for the actions of defrocked and disgraced priest Wayland Y. Brown (pictured).

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Criminal Practice – Plain Error Standard – Sexual Abuse – Expert Testimony (access required)

State v. Towe In the absence of physical evidence of sexual abuse in this case, the only bases for expert witness Dr. Everett’s conclusory assertion that the victim had been sexually abused were the victim’s history as relayed to Dr. Everett by the victim’s mother and the victim’s statements to a social worker that were observed by Dr. Everett — evidence that, standing alone, is insufficient to support an expert opinion that a child was sexually abused. Therefore, Dr. Everett’s expert testimony was improper when she stated that the victim fell into the category of children who had been sexually abused but showed no physical symptoms of such abuse.

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Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Enhancement – Prior Conviction – Sexual Abuse (access required)

U.S. v. Spence The 4th Circuit upholds an enhanced sentence for a defendant convicted of possession of child pornography, based on his prior conviction under South Carolina common law for “assault and battery of a high aggravated nature”; the district court did not err in holding that the prior conviction qualified as a predicate offense under the sexual abuse enhancement under 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(b)(2).

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