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09/17/87 MICHAEL WATSON v. STATE INDIANA

Filed: September 17, 1987.

MICHAEL WATSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE



APPEAL FROM THE FLOYD SUPERIOR COURT, The Honorable Richard Striegel, Judge, Cause No. S-85-CR-3.

Neal, J., Ratliff, C.j. and Robertson, J. Concur.

Author: Neal

NEAL, J.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Defendant-appellant, Michael Watson, Sr. (Watson), appeals his conviction by a Floyd Superior Court jury for child molesting, a Class B felony under IND. CODE 35-42-4-3(a). We affirm.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

In 1984, the victim, R. R., who was four years old at the time, was living with her mother and sister in a mobile home park. Watson's brother, Clarence, live in the trailer next door. From September to December 1984, Watson and his son resided with Clarence because Watson was estranged from his girlfriend, who was also his ex-wife. Watson met R. R.'s mother and the two dated briefly. In October, Clarence began babysitting for R. R. while her mother worked, and it was during this time that Watson compelled R. R. to perform fellatio upon him, and he also subjected her to intercourse, both vaginal and anal. Watson later reconciled with his girlfriend, and she moved into Clarence's trailer until mid-December 1984, when she, Watson, and their children moved into a house. When R. R.'s mother noticed a rash on R. R.'s vagina and R. R. complained of rectal bleeding, R. R.'s mother became suspicious and, after some prodding, R. R. explained what Watson had done. R. R. was taken to a hospital emergency room, where she was examined and the police were summoned. On January 7, 1985, the police video-taped R. R.'s statement. She described the molestation and demonstrated what happened using anatomically-correct dolls. Two days later, on January 9, Watson was charged by Information with Class-B-felony child molesting.

Watson's four-day trial began on February 24, 1986. R. R.'s mother and sister testified about noticing the vaginal rash when giving R. R. a bath, and the former related her brief relationship with Watson. Watson's son, seven years old at the time of trial, testified that he witnessed the incident between his father and R. R., stating that Watson "[p]ut his private part in hers." Record at 497. The jury viewed R. R.'s video-taped statement. Several mental health professionals testified that R. R. manifests characteristics common to molestation victims, and she suffers from "sleep terrors", a sleeping disorder caused by a traumatic event. R. R. herself testified, after being found competent to do so, and related the molestation incident. Watson testified in his own defense. He believed he was the victim of a conspiracy between the police and the welfare department. According to Watson, this conspiracy was generated by R. R.'s mother, who was "jealous as hell" and filled with revenge after he jilted her in favor of a reconciliation with his ex-wife. Record at 745. This opinion was shared by Anna Grider, an erstwhile roommate of R. R.'s mother and girlfriend of Watson's brother Clarence, who testified that R. R.'s mother told her she was going to "pay him back" for returning to his ex-wife. Record at 687. Grider believed R. R.'s vaginal rash resulted from her incontinence.

The jury found Watson guilty, and the trial court sentenced him to the presumptive ten-year term of imprisonment. Watson then instituted this appeal.

ISSUES

Watson presents two issues for our review; they are:

I. Whether the trial court abused its discretion in finding R. R. competent to testify.

II. Whether the trial court erred in refusing to give Watson's tendered instruction on the ...


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