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State v. Lieurance

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District

September 9, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
MICHAEL J. LIEURANCE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
MICHAEL J. LIEURANCE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeals from Auglaize County Municipal Court Trial Court No. 12 CRB 00491.

Jennifer L. Brunner and Elizabeth A. Mote for Appellant

Edwin A. Pierce and Alexander N. Fowler for Appellee.

OPINION

SHAW, JUDGE.

(¶1} Defendant-appellant, Michael J. Lieurance ("Lieurance"), appeals the judgments of conviction and sentence issued by the Auglaize County Municipal Court finding him guilty of sexual imposition, in violation of R.C. 2907.06(A)(1), sentencing him to serve 10 days in jail, and placing him on two years of community control.

(¶2} The prosecution provided the following evidence in support of its case against Lieurance. On August 6, 2012, Lieurance was on a family vacation at Glacier Hills Campground in Auglaize County with his partner, William Birt ("Birt"), and Birt's children. Lieurance and Birt owned a trailer parked on a campsite in the campground.

(¶3} At approximately 10:00 p.m. that evening, Lieurance made the acquaintance of sixteen-year-old T.B., who was also vacationing at the campground with his mother and four younger sisters. There is some discrepancy about whether Lieurance invited T.B. to his campsite, but it is nevertheless undisputed that T.B. was seated in a folding chair to the right of Lieurance and the two engaged in small talk. At this time, no one else was seated at the campsite with T.B. and Lieurance.

(¶4} T.B. recalled Lieurance reaching over him with his right hand to grab his cigarettes, which were located in the cup holder in the right arm of T.B.'s chair. T.B. testified that as Lieurance reached over T.B.'s lap, "he brushed his hand across my bottom genitals [sic] area and when he pulled back he rubbed them across as he was going back as well." (Tr. at 7). T.B. specifically stated that Lieurance touched his penis and testicles over his clothes. T.B. explained that he did not do anything at that point because he thought it might have been an accident.

(¶5} Shortly thereafter, T.B.'s six-year-old sister came over to Lieurance's campsite and sat on T.B.'s lap. T.B. began tickling her and Lieurance joined in. T.B. testified that as Lieurance attempted to tickle his sister, his hand slid down and tickled T.B. on his penis instead. T.B. testified that he became nervous and uncomfortable and did not know how to react. He then took his sister over to his mother, who was at a neighboring campsite.

(¶6} T.B. then returned to Lieurance's campsite and sat down. T.B. could not explain why he returned to the campsite. At this time, Birt, Lieurance's partner was also at the campsite and conversed with Lieurance and T.B. T.B. testified that "when [Birt] was there [Lieurance] wouldn't touch [him] at all in any way, but after [Birt] left [Lieurance] would rub [his left] leg a lot." (Tr. at 9).

(¶7} T.B. testified that "at the times [sic] I was getting ready to leave [Lieurance] reached over and was rubbing my leg again and slid his hand and full on grabbed [me] by my testicles and my penis and started rubbing." (Tr. At 10). T.B. stated that he then attempted to leave when Lieurance reached again to touch him, but he moved and walked away.

(¶8} T.B. testified that he walked over to the campsite of a family friend, Tommy Deal, where his mother was sitting. T.B. recalled sitting down in front of Tommy at the campsite. He also testified that about ten minutes after he left Lieurance's campsite, he texted Tommy and told him that he really needed to talk to someone when his (T.B.'s) mother was not around. The prosecution admitted as an exhibit at trial a picture of the text message T.B. sent to Tommy, which stated "Don't say ANYTHING outloud [sic]… but when mom leave [sic] I need to talk to you badly…plss [sic]." T.B. testified that once he was able to talk to Tommy alone, he told Tommy that Lieurance had touched him inappropriately and recounted each incident to Tommy. T.B. testified that he also told his mother about the incidents with Lieurance later that night. T.B. subsequently decided to file a report with law enforcement.

(¶9} On August 15, 2012, a criminal complaint was filed against Lieurance alleging that he committed the offense of sexual imposition against T.B.

(¶10} On August 22, 2012, Lieurance appeared in open court and entered a plea of not guilty to the charge.

(¶11} On October 1, 2012, the trial court conducted a bench trial. Several witnesses testified, including Lieurance in his defense. After hearing the evidence, the trial court took the matter under advisement.

(¶12} On October 23, 2012, the trial court issued a journal entry finding Lieurance guilty of sexual imposition and set the matter for sentencing.

(¶13} On November 13, 2012, the trial court issued a sentencing entry imposing a sentence of ten days in jail and placing Lieurance on community control for two years. Lieurance was ...


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