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[U] Commonwealth v. Work

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 5, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
DANIEL C. WORK, JR., Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence July 30, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County Criminal Division at No.: CP-36-CR-0005372-2010

BEFORE: DONOHUE, J., OTT, J., and PLATT, J. [*]

MEMORANDUM

PLATT, J.

Appellant, Daniel C. Work, Jr., appeals from the judgment of sentence entered July 30, 2012, following his jury conviction of rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, and corruption of minors.[1] For the reasons discussed below, we affirm.

The record reflects that the victim, D.H., was Appellant's next-door-neighbor, and Appellant, whom the victim referred to as "Uncle Dan, " sometimes cared for him when his mother was unavailable. (N.T. Trial, 3/05/12, at 54-55). The victim testified that, on many occasions, while Appellant and the victim were naked, Appellant would have the victim touch his penis and would touch his penis to the victim's anus, sometimes going inside, which hurt. (See id. at 57-59). The victim further testified that Appellant wanted him to suck his penis and told the victim not to tell anybody. (See id. at 59-60).

The victim's birth mother agreed that she lived next door to Appellant from 2005-2008. (See id. at 93). She confirmed that "Uncle Dan" would babysit the victim. (See id. at 94). The birth mother testified that, in June 2007, the victim told her that "Uncle Dan" would suck his "winky, " the term the victim used to refer to his penis. (See id.). The birth mother admitted that she never contacted police to report the sexual assault and that she lost custody of the victim three days after this disclosure. (See id. at 95).

The victim's adoptive mother testified that he came to live with her in June 2008; in September 2009, she walked in on the victim and saw him sitting on the floor sucking his penis. (See id. at 111-12). When she asked him what he was doing, the victim stated that he was playing "cheek butts" and had to play by himself because Appellant was not there to play with him. (Id. at 112). The adoptive mother stated that she arranged for sexual abuse counseling and that, subsequently, the victim has told her many times that Appellant touched him inappropriately. (See id. at 112-13).

Keri Stanley, supervisor of the Lancaster County Children's Alliance (Alliance), testified regarding her September 14, 2009 recorded interview[2]with the victim. (See id. at 85). Stanley testified about the Alliance's interview structure, which stresses rapport building, developmental assessment, and open-ended questions. (See id. at 82).

Caryn Wildin, the victim's therapist, testified that, during her eighth session with the victim, he disclosed that on many occasions he and Appellant would take off their clothes and that Appellant put his penis in the victim's mouth and urinated in the victim's mouth. (See N.T. Trial, 3/06/12, at 148-49). She also stated that the victim told her that Appellant put his penis near the victim's buttocks. (See id. at 149). Wildin said that the victim told her that the abuse happened many times, more than he could count. (See id.).

Appellant took the stand and testified in his own defense. He confirmed that he lived next door to the victim and would sometimes babysit him. (See id. at 228-29). Appellant averred that on one occasion he had to bathe the victim and during that bath scrubbed his bottom and penis. (See id. at 229-31). However, Appellant denied ever sexually assaulting the victim. (See id. at 234).

On March 7, 2012, the jury convicted Appellant of the afore-mentioned charges. On July 30, 2012, the trial court sentenced Appellant to an aggregate term of incarceration of not less than ten nor more than twenty years. On August 8, 2012, Appellant filed a post-sentence motion challenging the weight of the evidence. The trial court denied the motion on October 25, 2012. The instant, timely appeal followed.[3]

On appeal, Appellant raises five questions for our review:
A. Whether the lower cou[r]t erred in denying [Appellant's] motion for new trial when the verdict of the jury finding [Appellant] guilty of rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and corruption of minors was against the weight of the evidence?
B. Whether the court erred in permitting the Commonwealth to introduce hearsay declarations by the alleged victim to various individuals when the time, content and circumstances of the statements did not provide sufficient indicia of reliability as required by 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5985.1?
C. Whether the court erred in sustaining the Commonwealth's objection and prohibiting [Appellant] from questioning the child victim concerning any medications he was consuming when such cross-examination was relevant to impeach the credibility of the victim by showing defects in memory and/or perception?
D. Whether the court erred in overruling defense objections and in permitting Caryn Wildin to testify concerning various techniques used by her when interviewing the alleged victim and impermissible and highly prejudicial opinions?
E. Whether the lower court erred in overruling the defense objection and permitting the replay of the tape of the forensic interview during jury deliberations when the replay of the tape emphasized a particular portion of the evidence which was favorable to the Commonwealth and prejudicial to [Appellant]?

(Appellant's Brief, at 5).

In his first claim, Appellant argues that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. (See id. at 17-18). In reviewing the weight ...


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