IN THE INTEREST OF N.A.P., A MINOR APPEAL OF: N.A.P.
from the Dispositional Order Entered September 1, 2018 In the
Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County Criminal Division at
BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., MURRAY, J., and STEVENS [*] , P.J.E.
N.A.P., a minor, appeals from the dispositional order entered
by the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County on September
1, 2018. Appellant argues that the juvenile court erred when
it refused to sequester a witness and denied his challenge to
the weight of the evidence. After careful review, we affirm.
was adjudicated delinquent based on allegations that he raped
and strangled his girlfriend, N.M., when she was fifteen
years old. At the adjudication hearing, the following factual
history was developed: N.M. claimed that on January 17, 2017,
Appellant and N.M. were arguing in the dining room of
Appellant's home about Appellant's ex-girlfriend,
C.V. Appellant suggested they continue their argument in his
downstairs bedroom so that his grandfather would not hear
testified that initially she did not expect Appellant to hurt
her as his demeanor was not "mean." Notes of
Testimony (N.T.), 6/23/17, at 19. However, N.M. claimed that
after she refused to have sex with Appellant, Appellant
grabbed her by the neck and "slammed [her] down" on
the bed. Id. at 20-21. As Appellant's hand was
high on her neck near her jawbone, N.M. asserted that she had
difficulty breathing, could not speak, and could not escape.
Id. at 21-23, 36-37.
explained in detail that Appellant used his right hand to
pull her pants down and subsequently used his right hand to
hold her right hand down. Id. at 22. He then placed
his right hand on her neck and pulled her pants down with his
left hand. Id. N.M. asserted that Appellant forced
his penis into her vagina while still holding her neck, only
stopping when they heard someone or something downstairs.
Id. at 22-24.
N.M. ran upstairs and texted her cousin to come pick her up,
indicating that it was urgent as she needed to leave.
Id. at 24. Appellant did not follow N.M. upstairs.
Id. N.M. waited thirty minutes for her cousin to
pick her up, but did not tell her cousin what happened
because she was afraid and embarrassed. Id. at 25.
N.M. later noticed she had bruising on her arm and buttocks,
recalled having breathing issues that caused her to wheeze,
and felt discomfort in her neck for the next few days.
Id. at 26-27. N.M. also testified that the attack
affected her emotionally, as she experienced depression and
problems sleeping and eating. Id. at 27-28.
did not speak with Appellant or initiate any contact with him
after the attack. When she saw Appellant in the school
hallway, he called her a "rat" and "ugly"
in front of his friends. N.T. at 28-29. N.M. did not tell
anyone about the attack until February 2017 when she confided
in her best friend, her dad, and then her mom. Id.
at 29-32. N.M. reported the attack and underwent a medical
exam and interview at the Over the Rainbow Children's
Advocacy Center on February 13, 2017.
admitted that she did not have a good relationship with
Appellant's ex-girlfriend, C.V., because she continued to
contact Appellant while he was dating N.M., started
"drama and rumors," and attempted to set up N.M.
with another male in order to break Appellant and N.M.'s
relationship. Id. at 35, 61-62, 67-68. In addition,
N.M. claimed that she was bullied after the attack and had to
transfer schools. Id. at 14.
prosecution presented the expert testimony of Jennifer McNew,
a forensic nurse consultant, who has performed over 600
examinations in connection with sexual assault allegations.
Id. at 77-78. When conducting N.M.'s examination
on February 13, 2017, McNew took photos of bruises on
N.M.'s left arm and left buttocks. McNew indicated that
N.M.'s complaints of neck pain, difficulty breathing,
lightheadedness, coughing, and headache were consistent with
her claim that pressure had been applied to her neck.
Id. at 88. McNew reported that N.M. did not exhibit
any signs of genital injury, but explained that the absence
of a genital injury does not invalidate allegations of sexual
assault. Id. at 88-92. McNew also acknowledged that
N.M. tested positive for chlamydia and Appellant tested
negative for chlamydia, but cited studies proposing that
chlamydia in males may resolve itself without any treatment.
Id. at 88-89, 99-101.
mother, T.D., testified that that her daughter was shaken and
devastated when she revealed that she had been raped and
strangled. Id. at 119-20. T.D. initially represented
to the reporting officer, Trooper Courtney Pattillo, that
based on N.M.'s statements, that the attack occurred
sometime between January 16-18, 2017. Id. at 112.
T.D. asserted that N.M. never alleged that the assault
occurred on January 20. Id.
mother, S.J., claimed Trooper Pattillo contacted her on
February 13, 2017 with the allegations N.M. made against
Appellant. Id. at 124. When Trooper Pattillo
asserted that the alleged date of the attack was January 20,
2017, S.J claimed the attack did not happen as Appellant was
out to dinner with her for her mother's birthday.
Id. at 125-26. S.J. also claimed she picked
Appellant up at N.M.'s home on January 19. Id.
at 129-30. However, she never told this to Trooper Pattillo.
Id. at 133-36.
Pattillo was unable to be present for the hearing in this
case. Neither party sought to continue the adjudicatory
hearing to a later court date in which Trooper Pattillo would
be available to appear in this case.
grandfather, C.J., testified that he supervises Appellant
when Appellant's mother is on work trips. Id. at
138-39. Although Appellant's room is in the basement of
the home, C.J. claimed that he has never seen Appellant's
door closed and can hear what is going on the basement from
upstairs. Id. at 140-41. While C.J. indicated that
Appellant's friends were required to leave the home by
8:00 p.m., C.J. was not aware of any rule with respect to
Appellant having girls in his room. Id. at 140.
specifically asked about Appellant's relationship with
N.M., C.J. indicated that he never saw N.M. come up from the
basement and act unusual, injured, or upset. Id. at
143. Further, C.J. identified his own text messages in which
he asked Appellant's mother if he could drop Appellant
off at N.M.'s grandmother's home on January 18, 2017.
Id. at 143-45. C.J. remembered driving Appellant
there and seeing him enter the home, but admitted he did not
see N.M. on that date. Id. at 145-46.
ex-girlfriend, C.V., testified that she dated Appellant from
April 2016 to December 2016. Id. at 150-51. C.V.
knew that Appellant and N.M. dated from December 27 until the
end of January. Id. at 151. Appellant and C.V. got
back together on February 2, 2017. Id. at 151-52.
C.V. admitted that she made N.M. angry when she forwarded
Appellant a text message thread between N.M. and another
male, M.M. Id. at 153-56.
testified on his own behalf and claimed he did not remember
what happened on January 17, 2017. Id. at 161. He
indicated that he had consensual sex with N.M. three or four
times during their relationship, but could not recall the
exact dates. Id. at 160. Appellant testified to his
household rule that his bedroom door had to be open if he was
alone with N.M. and his grandfather would sometimes check in
with them unexpectedly. Id. at 162-63. However,
Appellant maintained that he and N.M. had sex in his bedroom
several times and were never caught. Id. Appellant
also claimed his mother set a strict rule that friends had to
leave N.M.'s home by 8 p.m. on a school night.
Id. at 162.
indicated that he and N.M. broke up in late January over
Snapchat messages. Id. at 172-73. Although it was a
"bad breakup," Appellant could not recall what led
to the breakup. N.T. at 171-73. He indicated the breakup
occurred before N.M. came forward with the rape allegations
and admitted he and N.M. would fight often over his
ex-girlfriend, C.V. Id. at 163. Appellant admitted
to calling N.M. "chunky," "fat," and a
"rat" in front of his friends to make N.M. feel bad
after their relationship ended. He admitted to targeting
N.M.'s insecurities about her own body specifically to
make fun of her. N.T. at 165-66, 169. Appellant admitted that