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[U] Commonwealth v. Goodrow

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 10, 2014



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of January 18, 2011 In the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-22-CR-0001073-2010, CP-22-CR-0001074-2010, CP-22-CR-0001076-2010 and CP-22-CR-0004846-2010




Appellant, William Joseph Goodrow, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered on January 18, 2011. On this direct appeal, Appellant's court-appointed counsel has filed both a petition to withdraw as counsel and an accompanying brief pursuant to Commonwealth v. McClendon, 434 A.2d 1185 (Pa. 1981), and its federal predecessor, Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967). We conclude that Appellant's counsel has complied with the procedural requirements necessary to withdraw. However, after independently reviewing the record, we conclude that the appeal is not wholly frivolous. We therefore deny counsel's petition to withdraw and remand with instructions.

The trial court detailed the trial testimony as follows:

[At the time of trial, ] A.J.G. [wa]s [15] years old, A.A.G. [wa]s [12] years old, and A.E.G. [wa]s ten [] years old (hereinafter collectively referred to as "the children"). They have another sister named [A.], a half-sister, and a [13] year old [stepsister] named E.M. The children currently attend school and live in Clearfield County with their biological mother [P.B. ("Mother")] and their stepfather [R.B.]. Appellant is their biological father.
Prior to separation, the children lived with Appellant and [Mother] in Bald Hill, Clearfield County. After separation, Appellant and [Mother] agreed to let Appellant exercise periods of physical custody of the children every other weekend. Since Appellant was living there at the time, the custody visits were initially held at [the] paternal grandparents' residence in Clearfield County. The front door of paternal grandparents' residence opens into the living room. On one side of the living room is the kitchen. On the other side is a hallway that leads to two [] bedrooms and the bathroom.
Once Appellant and his wife [S.G.] [] obtained a townhouse in Harrisburg, visitations with the children occurred there every other weekend. [S.G.] and Appellant have been married for a little over two [] years. [E.M., stepsister to the children, is S.G.'s only biological child.] Upon entering the townhouse, a straightaway leads into the main living area and a set of stairs lead up to the second level. The second floor consists of Appellant and [S.G.]'s bedroom, E.M.'s bedroom, and the bathroom. Through E.M.'s bedroom, there is a second set of steps that provide access to a third floor attic where the children would sleep.
Testimony of A.J.G.:
A.J.G. was about seven [] or eight [] years old when Appellant first touched her. Said touching continued periodically until she was about [14] years old. When Appellant first began touching A.J.G., he would usually be drinking. However, he stopped drinking when she was about [13] years old.
While living in Bald Hill, A.J.G. was home alone with Appellant in the living room. A.J.G. did not want to go to sleep so Appellant asked if she wanted to play. She responded yes, misunderstanding his intention. He informed "not that kind of play." A.J.G. sat on the couch while Appellant proceeded to take her pants off. A.J.G. laid down and Appellant's fingers touched her vagina. Appellant instructed her not to tell anyone or he would get in trouble. Appellant used his fingers to touch A.J.G.'s vagina a few times while living at the Bald Hill residence. At said moments, Appellant would put his fingers in her vagina and touch her privates. Usually, the other family members would be asleep or [M]other would be at work.
During a visit to [the children's] paternal grandparents' residence, Appellant took A.J.G. and A.A.G. to a drive-in movie. While parked at the drive-in, Appellant shut the back of the gate of the vehicle, a GMC Envoy, with A.J.G. and A.A.G. laying in the back. The windows of the vehicle were tinted. A.J.G. recalled that no cars were parked directly beside the vehicle. At that point, Appellant took off the girls' pants and start[ed] touching them with his fingers. He stuck his fingers inside their vaginas. A.J.G. and A.A.G. never spoke to one another about the incident thereafter.
In Harrisburg, when [A.J.G.] was about [13] years old, Appellant came into the attic to wake A.J.G. up and took her down into his bedroom. [S.G.] was not present in the house and everyone else was sleeping. While in his bedroom, he took off her clothes and stuck his penis in her vagina. A.J.G. pushed Appellant off of her, ran back upstairs, put her clothes back on, and laid down. Appellant did not continue to bother her. After getting up for the day, she acted like nothing happened.
Another time when A.J.G. was about [13] years old, she was asleep on the couch in the living room at [her] paternal grandparents' residence. She was wearing pajama shorts and a pajama top. Appellant was sleeping on the floor in front of the couch. Appellant woke A.J.G. up by touching her with his fingers on and in her vagina. Then, he pulled A.J.G. down onto the floor. She laid down on the floor and Appellant proceeded to take off her pants and turn her over. He put his penis inside her vagina. At that moment, she was positioned on her hands and knees and Appellant was behind her. He ejaculated into his shirt and/or the blanket. A.J.G. grabbed her pants, put them back on, and crawled onto the couch. Appellant proceeded to ask if she was all right, but A.J.G. did not answer. Eventually Appellant went to sleep. During this incident, no one woke up or entered the living room. The next day, they behaved as if nothing happened.
Additionally, Appellant kissed A.J.G. on her lips. A.J.G. identified Appellant in [c]ourt as the person who did the above described actions to her. A.J.G. began fighting with [Mother and her stepfather] because she did not want to go for custody visits with Appellant. A.J.G. told [M]other she did not want to go because she did not like [S.G.]. A.J.G. texted Appellant and told him she did not want to go to his house because "every time I go down, you always touch me." Appellant replied that he was drunk. A.J.G. visited with Appellant after said text and the touching continued. At the age of [14], A.J.G. completely stopped going to Appellant's residence for custody visitations. A.J.G. had yet to [tell] anyone in her family about what Appellant did.
Eventually, A.J.G. told [M]other. The conversation began because [M]other warned A.J.G. that she better not be having sex or she was going to get her tested. A.J.G. told her that it would not work. At the moment, A.J.G. was concerned about her mother finding out about a boy named Anthony. A.J.G. confessed she did not have the courage to tell [M]other, so she left the conversation and went upstairs with her friend Melissa. She told Melissa what occurred with Appellant, who in turn assured A.J.G. she needed to tell [M]other. The girls went back downstairs and Melissa proceeded to inform [Mother] of what A.J.G. revealed upstairs. [M]other questioned A.J.G. if it was true, to which she responded yes. Additionally, A.J.G. informed [Mother] of what happened to A.A.G. [M]other then questioned A.A.G. if it was true, to which she responded yes. [M]other called the police.
A.J.G. testified that [C.S.] is a classmate who she occasionally texts. A.J.G. received a text message from [C.S.] about a boy named Anthony. [C.S.] asked A.J.G. if she ever had sex with Anthony. A.J.G. replied yes, because she previously dated him when she was [12] years old; approximately two [] weeks before she turned [13]. A.J.G. claims she lost her virginity to him. A.J.G.'s [M]other asked her about Anthony previously, but she denied anything happened with him until text messages between her and [C.S.] were revealed.
On August 8, 2009, A.J.G. commented on a picture of Appellant on Facebook that it was her daddy and she loved him. A.J.G. testified that Appellant is still her father and she still loves him.
Testimony of A.A.G.:
Using a drawing, A.A.G. pointed to places in which touching occurred between her and Appellant. She indicated Appellant touched her privates. Specifically, Appellant's finger, mouth, tongue, and private touched her. Sometimes there was clothing between her skin and his fingers when he touched her privates, but not always. Appellant would not say anything to her while he was touching her privates. Appellant's privates would touch her private, mouth, and butt.
She does not remember the first time Appellant touched her; however, it happened on more than one occasion. The touching transpired at Bald Hill, at [her] paternal grandparents' residence, and at the townhouse in Harrisburg.
A.A.G. recalled one occasion while at [her] paternal grandparents' residence that she and A.E.G. were playing outside. Appellant called her inside and her sister stayed outside. A.A.G. sat down in a chair in the living room. Then, Appellant pulled her pants and underwear down. He used his finger and put it inside her private area. A.E.G. was about to come inside so Appellant told A.A.G. to pull her pants up.
While at Bald Hill, A.A.G. and A.E.G. were playing upstairs in the bedroom. Appellant called [A.A.G.] downstairs and asked if she wanted to play a game. She thought it would be a video game or something of [that nature]. He responded it was not that kind of game. Appellant pulled down her pants. His fingers touched the outside and inside of her privates. Another time, Appellant touched A.A.G. and A.J.G. while they were at the outside movies. A.A.G., A.J.G., and Appellant were ...

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