Argued: September 15, 2016
J. Drake, Esq., Drake Law, LLC, Auburn, for appellant Richard
Christopher Almy, District Attorney, and Tracy Collins, Asst.
Dist. Atty., Prosecutorial District V, Bangor, for appellee
State of Maine
J. Drake, Esq., for appellant Richard J. Watson
Collins, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee State of Maine
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
Richard J. Watson appeals from a judgment of conviction of
two counts of gross sexual assault (Class A), 17-A M.R.S.
§ 253(1)(C) (2015), one count of unlawful sexual contact
(Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(F-1) (2015), and one
count of visual sexual aggression against a child (Class C),
17-A M.R.S. § 256(1)(B) (2015), entered in the Unified
Criminal Docket (Penobscot County, Lucy, J.)
following a jury trial. Watson contends on appeal that the
trial court erred by admitting testimony of the victims aunt
and grandmother concerning the victims state of mind. We
disagree and affirm Watsons conviction.
The evidence at trial established, without dispute, that the
victim was born in November of 2003 and is Watsons biological
daughter. On August 4, 2014, when the victim was ten years
old, Watson told her that he would get her a phone if she had
sex with him. The victim said yes because she wanted a phone,
and Watson exposed his genitals to her and touched his
genitals to her genitals. The following day, Watson bought
her a phone. On a separate occasion later that summer, Watson
performed oral sex on his daughter and penetrated her
genitals with his finger.
Approximately one month after the first incident occurred,
the victim reported the incidents to two family members: her
aunt and her grandmother. The victim testified that she had
promised her father she would not report the incidents
because he told her he "could get in a lot of trouble,
" and that "I just felt guilty cause I felt like
its my fault because I said yes." The prosecutor asked,
"What do you mean you felt guilty because you said
yes?" "I felt guilty, " the victim replied,
"because ... I said yes to the whole phone thing ...
because I really wanted a phone." When the prosecutor
asked the victim to describe her initial report to her aunt,
the victim testified that she told her aunt that she felt
"really guilty" because of what had happened.
Watson did not object to this exchange.
The victims aunt, permitted to provide the evidence under the
"first complaint rule, " see State v.
Fahnley,2015 ME 82, ¶¶ 19-26, 119 A.3d 727,
testified that the victim told her on the afternoon of
September 7, 2014, about the two incidents. The prosecutor
inquired about the circumstances of that report, asking the
aunt, "[W]hat did she say her present feelings
were?" "Guilty, " the aunt replied, "That
was the-the big one. She said it many times." Watson
objected, asserting that the victims statement was
inadmissible hearsay. At sidebar, the prosecutor asserted
that the statement was "being offered as a present sense