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Massey v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia, Fifth Division

June 12, 2018

MASSEY
v.
THE STATE.

          MCFADDEN, P. J., RAY and RICKMAN, JJ.

          Rickman, Judge.

         Billy Ray Massey was tried by a jury and convicted of aggravated child molestation and child molestation. On appeal, Massey contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for aggravated child molestation and that the trial court failed to properly exercise its discretion as a thirteenth juror in denying his motion for new trial. For the following reasons, we affirm.

On appeal from a criminal conviction, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to support the jury's verdict, and the defendant no longer enjoys a presumption of innocence. We do not weigh the evidence or judge the credibility of the witnesses, but determine only whether the evidence authorized the jury to find the defendant guilty of the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt in accordance with the standard set forth in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).

(Citation and punctuation omitted.) Hall v. State, 335 Ga.App. 895 (783 S.E.2d 400) (2016).

         So viewed, the evidence showed that the 7-year-old victim's mother and father met Massey and his wife at church when the victim's mother was pregnant with the victim. Massey and his wife were grandparent figures to the victim and her younger brother who referred to them as "Nana" and "Papa." The victim and her family spent vacations and holidays with the Masseys. The Masseys frequently babysat the victim and her brother, and sometimes the children would spend the night at their home.

         One evening, the victim and her family went to the fair with the Masseys. After the fair, the victim and her brother went back to the Masseys' residence and spent the night. Massey's wife returned the children to their parents the following evening. After she got home, the victim's mother was talking to the victim about her day and became concerned about the victim's responses and behavior. The victim told her mother that she could not tell her about something that happened because it was "a secret." The victim revealed that she and Massey had "a relationship." Pointing to her private area, the victim told her father that Massey had touched her.

         The victim's father called 911, and a Sergeant with the Floyd County Police Department responded. The victim told the Sergeant that Massey had touched her and pointed to her groin area. The Sergeant arranged for the victim to have a forensic interview the following day.

         During the forensic interview, the victim told the interviewer that Massey touched her on her private area. Two days after the initial interview, the victim told her mother that she needed to go back and speak with the forensic interviewer again. During the second forensic interview, the victim told the interviewer that Massey touched the "inside of her body" and that "it hurt." Both interviews were recorded and published to the jury.

         A family nurse practitioner and pediatric sexual assault nurse performed a medical exam on the victim. The nurse testified that while the victim did not have any scars, lacerations, or bruising, the findings from the exam were consistent with sexual abuse because the victim said that it sometimes hurt when Massey touched her and that, after she had been touched, it would sometimes burn when she urinated. The nurse testified that any kind of pressure inside the vagina would be painful for a girl the victim's age.

         The victim testified at trial that when she went to the Massey's house during the day, Massey's wife and her brother would take naps together in the Massey's room. During this time, the victim would sit with Massey in a recliner and watch television. The victim testified that while they were watching television, Massey would touch her with his fingers on her private and it hurt. Massey would also ask the victim to touch his private part outside of his clothes. Massey told the victim not to tell anyone about the touching because they would get "separated."

         The grand jury returned an indictment charging Massey with aggravated sexual battery, aggravated child molestation, two counts of child molestation, and cruelty to children in the second degree. Prior to the start of the trial, the State nolle prossed the cruelty to children charge. Massey was found guilty of sexual battery, as a lesser included of aggravated sexual battery, aggravated child molestation, and on both counts of child molestation. One of the child molestation counts and the sexual battery count merged into the conviction for aggravated child molestation for the purposes of sentencing. Massey filed timely motions for new trial, which were denied. Massey appeals from his convictions and the denial of his motions for new trial.

         1. In two enumerated errors, Massey contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for aggravated child molestation. Specifically, he argues that the State failed to present sufficient evidence that the victim suffered a physical injury. We disagree.

         "A person commits the offense of child molestation when such person . . . [d]oes any immoral or indecent act to or in the presence of or with any child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the person[.]" OCGA § 16-6-4 (a) (1). "A person commits the offense of aggravated child molestation when such person commits an offense of child molestation which act physically injures the child[.]" OCGA § 16-6-4 (c). "Significantly, a child's testimony that the molestation was painful is ...


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