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State v. Fahnley

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

July 7, 2015

STATE OF MAINE
v.
JOHN A. FAHNLEY

Argued: February 11, 2015.

Page 728

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 729

Judgment affirmed.

On the briefs and at oral argument: Timothy E. Zerillo, Esq., Zerillo Law, LLC, Portland, for appellant John A. Fahnley.

Joshua W. Robbins, Asst. Dist. Atty., Farmington, for appellee State of Maine.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.

OPINION

Page 730

SAUFLEY, C.J.

[¶1] John A. Fahnley appeals from a judgment of conviction of sexual abuse of a minor (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 254(1)(A-2) (2014), entered by the court (Franklin County, Mills, J. ) after a jury trial. Fahnley argues that (A) the court improperly applied the " first complaint" rule and (B) the prosecutor committed misconduct in his closing arguments that deprived Fahnley of a fair trial. We affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, the evidence in the record supports the following facts. State v. Diana, 2014 ME 45, ¶ 2, 89 A.3d 132. In August 2008, the victim, a fourteen-year-old boy, was a guest for several days in the home of John A. Fahnley, a longtime family friend who was then about fifty years old. One night, after the victim had become intoxicated and passed out, he awoke to find Fahnley removing his belt. Fahnley pulled the victim's pants down, undressed him, and put his mouth on the victim's penis, testicles, and rectum.[1]

[¶3] Based on information about this and other conduct, in December 2012, Fahnley was charged by a complaint that, as amended, alleged two counts of sexual abuse of a minor (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 254(1)(A-2), and one count of sexual abuse of a minor (Class D), 17-A M.R.S. § 254(1)(A) (2014). He was later charged by indictment with gross sexual assault (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 253(1)(A) (2014), and two counts of sexual abuse of a minor (Class C), id. § 254(1)(A-2).

[¶4] The court held a three-day jury trial in February 2014. The State presented testimony from four witnesses: the victim's mother, the investigating detective from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, a physician assistant who had treated Fahnley, and the victim himself. On direct examination by the State, the prosecutor asked the victim's mother the following question: " [W]hen was it that [the victim] ...


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