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Commonwealth v. Yockey

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

April 4, 2017

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
JACOB ALLEN YOCKEY, Appellant

         Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of October 21, 2015 In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-02-CR-0012979-2014

          Joseph D. Seletyn, Esq.

          BEFORE: BOWES, OLSON and STRASSBURGER, [*] JJ.

          OPINION

          OLSON, J.

         Appellant, Jacob Allen Yockey, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered on October 21, 2015, as made final by the denial of Appellant's post-sentence motion on December 17, 2015. We affirm.

         The Commonwealth charged Appellant with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse ("IDSI"), unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, and two counts of indecent assault;[1] the charges arose out of Appellant's repeated sexual abuse of a minor male victim (herein identified as "the Victim"), when the Victim was 14 and 15 years old.[2] Commonwealth's Information, 10/17/14, at 1-2.

         Appellant's case proceeded to a jury trial. During trial, the Victim testified that Appellant first abused him on May 31, 2013, which was the night before the wedding between Appellant and the Victim's cousin, JY. N.T. Trial, 7/14/15, at 38-39. As the Victim testified, he was asked to be a groomsman in Appellant's June 1, 2013 wedding to JY and, on the night before the wedding, the Victim slept over at the house that belonged to Appellant and JY. Id. at 38. Also sleeping in the house that night were the other groomsmen and Appellant; JY was not present that night, as she was with her bridesmaids at a bridal party. Id. The Victim testified:

Everyone basically was up for a while and went to sleep. There was nowhere else to sleep. It was a relatively small house. So I just slept in the same bed with [Appellant] because I knew him obviously and then like toward the middle of the night he woke me up and asked to show me something. ... I said, "What?" And he said to take off my pants. And I got very nervous and very scared and my mind went blank. I just did it and he started touching me.

Id. at 38-39. According to the Victim, Appellant touched the Victim's penis with his hand until the Victim ejaculated; after the Victim ejaculated, Appellant touched himself until he also ejaculated. Id. at 39-40. Afterwards, Appellant told the Victim "don't tell anyone" and that "it was normal." Id. at 40.

         The Victim recalled that Appellant next molested him "a few months later, " inside of Appellant and JY's house. According to the Victim:

I was getting ready to go into the shower and [Appellant] came in and all I had was my underwear on and he picked me up and threw me onto his bed and started wrestling with me. And he took my underwear and said, "If you want to win the underwear back, you have to win the game."
I didn't know what the game was or how to win. I just kept trying to get my underwear back and I grew tired and he started touching me.

Id. at 42. The Victim testified that Appellant again touched him on his penis. Id. The Victim testified: "I just continued to be really scared, but then he took off his clothes and pulled my hand to touch him. . . . [Appellant] kept holding my hand [on Appellant's penis] and holding it up and down until he ejaculated." Id. After this occurred, Appellant again told the Victim "don't tell anyone." Id. at 43.

         The third occurrence of sexual abuse happened in the following manner:

The next incident was another one where we were, like, wrestling again.
... It was just like it sort of started about the same way where I was getting ready to do something. He would pick me up and continue to take my clothes off and I would just not know what to do - be doing. I was like scared almost, but because I didn't know what was going to happen afterward, but he just continued to touch me and I got very nervous, almost shut down.

Id. at 43-44. The Victim testified that Appellant again touched "on my private area" and again told the Victim "don't tell anyone." Id. at 44.

         With respect to the fourth time that Appellant molested the Victim, the Victim testified:

There was another incident where I was getting ready to go to work. At the time I worked in Wilkinsburg and [Appellant] offered to give me a ride, but the only way I would get a ride there was if I were to spend the night at his house and I was very reluctant to go to his house. But I though [JY] would be there, but she was not.
And when I went there everything was fine at night, but in the morning right around the time when I woke up he just started wrestling with me again and he started to take my clothes off, but I just kept trying to push him away and he wasn't moving and he started tickling me and I sort of grew weaker and I just fell limp.
I kept saying stop and no and no and no, but he just kept going. ... He just continued to touch me and I just felt so weak. I just went blank for a while and he continued to touch me and touch me and I just got sick again and he drove me to work.

Id. at 44-45. As the Victim later specified, during this time Appellant touched the Victim on the Victim's "privates." Id. at 45.

         Appellant's final act of molestation occurred over Labor Day weekend of 2014. The Victim testified:

I was, again, over at their house and also I did think [JY] would be there, but she was not. I went to bed[, wearing pajama pants and underwear]. Nothing happened. But as I was starting to wake up, I saw this object under the covers and I was wondering what it was. At first I thought it was the cat and then I realized it was too big to be a cat. Then I thought it was a pillow and it was moving ... up and down.

Id. at 45-46. As the Victim testified, when he saw the movement underneath the covers, he felt "like a scratching between [his] legs" and a wetness on his "private parts." Id. The Victim testified that the object then "disappeared." Id. However, when the Victim fully woke, he realized that he was naked - even though he was wearing "black pajama pants with underwear underneath" when he went to sleep. Id.

         The Victim testified:

I was very in shock so I went to the bathroom and did what I normally do, which is run my hands under scalding hot water. And I was very reluctant to talk about it, but I asked [Appellant] about it and he said he was asleep the whole time and had no idea what I was talking about.

Id. at 46-47.

         Nevertheless, the Victim testified, he knew that Appellant was underneath his covers because "there [were] no other moving objects in that house besides the cats and [Appellant]" and the object was "too big to be a cat." Id. at 47. The Victim also testified that the "wetness" he felt was Appellant's mouth around his penis. Id.

         One week after the fifth act of molestation occurred, the Victim told his mother what had happened and the Victim's mother informed the police. Id. at 50.

         The Commonwealth presented testimony from the Victim's mother and JY and rested its case. Appellant then presented testimony from Russell Brown, Justin Mclntyre, Juan Ortiz, and Christopher Johns - all of whom were groomsmen at Appellant's July 1, 2013 wedding and all of whom slept over at Appellant's house on the night before the wedding, when, the Victim testified, Appellant first abused him. Each groomsman testified that: on the night before the wedding, they met at a rehearsal dinner; after the dinner, Appellant and the groomsmen (including the Victim) went back to Appellant's house; Appellant, the Victim, and the groomsmen slept over at Appellant's house that night; and, Appellant, the Victim, and the groomsmen were the only individuals in Appellant's house that night. However, some of the groomsmen offered slightly different testimony about what occurred at Appellant's house and where the events occurred.

         Russell Brown testified that, when everyone went back to Appellant's house, they "just watched a movie [and] played some video games." N.T. Trial, 7/15/15, at 117. Mr. Brown testified that, after Juan Ortiz went to bed in the basement, "everybody else went upstairs" and went to bed. Id. at 125. According to Mr. Brown: he slept in the living room; Justin Mclntyre and Chris Johns also slept in the living room; Juan Ortiz slept in the basement; Appellant slept in the master bedroom; and, the Victim slept in the separate, guest room. Id. at 118-119. According to Mr. Brown: he saw the Victim enter the guest room to go to sleep; he saw the Victim close the door to the guest room; he saw Appellant go into the master bedroom to sleep; he awoke once in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and saw Appellant's bedroom door open and the guest room door closed; he never heard any noise coming from Appellant's bedroom during the night; and, when everyone awoke in the morning, the Victim did not appear to be "distressed" or "unnerved." Id. at 119-121.

         Justin Mclntyre testified next. As Mr. Mclntyre testified, on the night before the wedding, Appellant and the groomsmen arrived at Appellant's house and everyone played the videogame "Mario Party" in the living room. Id. at 139 and 148. Mr. Mclntyre testified that, after they finished playing the videogame, everyone went to sleep. According to Mr. Mclntyre: he slept on the floor in the living room; Chris Johns and Russell Brown also slept in the living room; he saw the Victim enter the guest room; and, after he saw the Victim go into the guest room, he saw Appellant enter the master bedroom. Id. at 139-140 and 152.

         During the Commonwealth's cross-examination of Mr. Mclntyre, the following questions, testimony, objection, and exchanges occurred:

Q: What games were you playing?
A: Mario Party.
Q: Who is all playing these games? Was everybody playing those games?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you watch a movie?
A: I don't remember.
Q: You don't remember if you watched a movie?
A: I don't think I watched a movie.
Q: Okay. If I told you that Russell [Brown] said that you watched a movie, would he be ...

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