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State v. Vultee

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

July 14, 2015

STATE OF MAINE
v.
ERIK L. VULTEE

Argued June 16, 2015.

On the briefs: R. Bradford Bailey, Esq., Brad Bailey Law, P.C., Boston, Massachusetts, and Bradley Lown, Esq., Coughlin, Rainboth, Murphy & Lown, PA, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for appellant Erik L. Vultee.

Geoffrey Rushlau, District Attorney, Prosecutorial District Six, Rockland, for appellee State of Maine.

At oral argument: R. Bradford Bailey, Esq., for appellant Erik L. Vultee.

Geoffrey Rushlau, District Attorney, for appellee State of Maine.

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

OPINION

Page 94

GORMAN, J.

[¶1] Erik L. Vultee appeals from a judgment of conviction following a jury trial for one count of unlawful sexual contact (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(F-1) (2014); nine counts of unlawful sexual contact (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(E-1) (2014); one count of criminal attempt (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 152(1)(B) (2014); one count of visual sexual aggression against a child (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 256(1)(B) (2014); one count of sexual misconduct with a child under twelve (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 258(1-A) (2014); and one count of unlawful sexual touching (Class D), 17-A M.R.S. § 260(1)(C) (2014), entered by the Superior Court (Knox County, Hjelm, J. ). Vultee contends that the court erred in admitting and excluding various pieces of evidence. Vultee also contends that the court abused its discretion in denying his motion for a new trial. We disagree and affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] On February 11, 2013, Vultee was indicted for five counts of unlawful sexual contact with penetration (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(F-1); five counts of unlawful sexual contact without penetration (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(E-1); gross sexual assault (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 253(1)(C) (2014); visual sexual aggression against a child (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 256(1)(B); sexual misconduct with a child under twelve (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 258(1-A); and unlawful sexual touching (Class D), 17-A M.R.S. § 260(1)(C). Vultee pleaded not guilty to all charges, and the court held a jury trial from June 16, 2014, to June 18, 2014.[1]

Page 95

[¶3] Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, the following facts were established beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. See State v. Reed, 2013 ME 5, ¶ 9, 58 A.3d 1130. Vultee is the husband of the victim's great-aunt. Between 2008 and 2010, when she was eight to ten years of age, the victim regularly spent time with Vultee at his house while her mother went out to play bingo with Vultee's wife. Although the victim's sister sometimes stayed with the victim at Vultee's home, there were times when the victim was left alone with Vultee. During this timeframe, on more than ten occasions, Vultee brought the victim to his bedroom, where he showed her pornographic videos, made her take off her clothing, and exposed his penis to her. During most of these incidents, Vultee touched the victim's breasts and genitals, or made the victim touch his penis. On one occasion, Vultee penetrated the victim's genitals with his hand. Another time, Vultee attempted to penetrate the victim's genitals with his penis, but the victim pushed him away. Vultee told the victim that he would hurt her if she told anyone about his actions. Despite this threat, the victim did tell her sister that Vultee " touched her in ways that were not okay." The sister told the victim not to tell their mother because their mother worked with Vultee's wife.

[¶4] Around 2012, when the victim was eleven, she began cutting her arms and legs with a razor. Although the victim refused to tell her mother why she was cutting, she did agree to speak with her mother's friend. After the victim disclosed the sexual abuse to her mother's friend, she and her mother's friend shared this information with the victim's mother, and then with Detective Jason Andrews of the Maine State Police. At trial, the victim's mother, the victim's sister, the ...


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