Aggravated child molestation, etc. Barrow Superior Court. Before Judge Motes.
Katie Anderson, for appellant.
J. Bradley Smith, District Attorney, Samuel E. Skelton, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.
BARNES, Presiding Judge. Ray and McMillian, JJ., concur.
Barnes, Presiding Judge.
A jury convicted Robert Bowman on two counts of aggravated child molestation, two counts of aggravated sodomy, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, six counts of child molestation, and two counts of cruelty to
children in the first degree. Following the denial of his motion for new trial, Bowman appeals. Bowman contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the verdict and that the trial [332 Ga.App. 767] court erred in admitting hearsay statements, in allowing a witness to comment on the victim's veracity, and in denying his request to charge the jury regarding mandatory minimum sentences. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, the evidence showed that the victim, who was six at the time, disappeared one day. Her father, who lived nearby and joined her mother in the search, finally found her in Bowman's apartment sitting on the floor, and her father " got onto her" because she was not supposed to go into anyone else's house. Bowman, who was a friend and neighbor, usually kept his door open, but that day it had been closed, which was unusual. The mother recalled seeing the victim come out of Bowman's house on a previous occasion.
About a month later, while Bowman was giving the victim and her mother a ride home from the grocery store, he asked if they would like to go to breakfast with him the next morning. The victim " just kind of snapped" and said no, she did not want to go. Her mother chastised her for being rude, but several hours after that, the victim told her mother that she did not like Bowman because he " messed with her." The victim told her mother that he took her into his bedroom, licked her breasts, her private parts, and her bottom, and inserted his finger into her " pussy" and " it hurt real bad."
An expert in forensic interviewing and child sexual abuse interviewed the victim, and the State played a recording of the interview at trial. In it, the victim said that she had two interactions with Bowman in the bedroom of his apartment during which he kept " messing with" her. She said that on both occasions, he licked her private area, which he told her to call her " pussy," and licked her breasts, which he told her to call her " boobs." He also put his hands on her breast, inserted his finger into her vagina, stuck his " wicky wacker" in " there," and pulled down his pants and " squeezed it," demonstrating with her hands in front of her pelvis. Then he asked, " Can I see yours?" He said he would show her what he and his girlfriend did and put her on his lap, facing him, while he bounced up and down. Bowman told the victim that she could go outside any time she wanted, but his door was locked and he would not let her leave, although both times she kept telling him to stop. He told her that the next time she came around, when her mother was not around, she would have to suck on his privates, and also told her not to tell anyone what had happened. The victim described Bowman's bedroom, and that description was corroborated upon execution of a search warrant.
[332 Ga.App. 768] After Bowman was arrested, he waived his Miranda rights and talked to the lead investigator in the sheriff's department. When the investigator suggested that " maybe it just happened," Bowman replied:
If I did touch her, maybe it was an accident... . If I did touch her the wrong way -- it was an accident... . If I touched her in the wrong way without my knowledge, then yeah I am sorry... . I went to pick her up several times right around her back and my hand slipped -- could've slipped. Could she have been talking about that? ... If I touched her ...