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State v. Alex

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Ashtabula

November 13, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
LARRY E. ALEX, Defendant-Appellant.

         Criminal Appeal from the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas. Case No. 2015 CR 00315.

          Nicholas A. Iarocci, Ashtabula County Prosecutor, and Shelley M. Pratt, Assistant Prosecutor, Ashtabula County Courthouse, (For Plaintiff-Appellee).

          Michael A. Hiener, (For Defendant-Appellant).

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY P. CANNON, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Larry E. Alex, appeals from the August 25, 2016 judgment entry of sentence and judgment on the verdict of the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas. Appellant was found guilty by jury verdict of Gross Sexual Imposition, a third-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2907.05(A)(4). For the following reasons, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         Procedural History

         {¶2} On July 17, 2015, appellant was charged with one count of Gross Sexual Imposition, a third-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2907.05(A)(4) (Count 1) and two counts of Gross Sexual Imposition, fourth-degree felonies in violation of R.C. 2907.05(A)(1) (Counts 2 & 3). The charges stemmed from appellant's alleged conduct with his minor daughter, B.A., from May 16, 2012, through May 15, 2014; January 1 through December 31, 2014; and January 20 through January 21, 2015.

         {¶3} The matter proceeded to jury trial on August 23, 2016, and the jury entered its verdict on August 24, 2016, finding appellant guilty on Count 1 and not guilty on Counts 2 & 3.

         {¶4} On August 25, 2016, the trial court entered its judgment on the verdict and sentenced appellant to serve a term of 60 months in prison on Count 1, with nine days of jail-time credit granted. He was classified as a Tier II Sex Offender and ordered to pay all court costs. The court also informed appellant he would be subject to a mandatory five-year period of post-release control following his release from prison.

         {¶5} Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal on September 20, 2016.

         Trial Testimony

         {¶6} B.A. was 15 years old at the time of trial. She testified to multiple incidents that occurred, starting when she was 11 years old, during which appellant touched her inappropriately. At some point, according to her testimony, B.A. began sleeping with appellant in his bed because he was "having little strokes at night where he couldn't breathe" and she was worried about him. B.A. testified that appellant once restrained her to his bed with black leather straps and put his mouth on her breasts; he once restrained her with ropes attached to eye bolts in the basement ceiling and touched her vagina; and he had grabbed her buttocks and breasts on multiple occasions. Shortly after the last incident, wherein appellant had grabbed her buttocks and breast, B.A. was grounded for calling appellant a "bastard."

         {¶7} On January 23, 2015, about a week after the last incident, B.A. told a counselor at her school about appellant's behavior towards her.

         {¶8} B.A. was later interviewed by Ann Lynch, a forensic interviewer from Ashtabula County Children Services. B.A. explained she had not told Ms. Lynch everything she testified to at trial because, at the time, she was "scared [that her dad] would get mad at [her] for telling."

         {¶9} On cross-examination, defense counsel questioned B.A. about her interview with Ms. Lynch:

Defense Counsel: Okay. You remember meeting with Miss Lynch, correct?
B.A.: Yes.
Defense Counsel: And she interviewed you in January 2015?
B.A.: Yes.
Defense Counsel: Did you, at the beginning of that interview, agree to a couple ground rules for the interview, that you would tell the truth; if you didn't know a question, you would say you didn't know; that type of thing?
B.A.: Yes.
Defense Counsel: Do you remember telling Miss Lynch that you couldn't say when these things happened. But that they had stopped?
B.A.: I remember that.
Defense Counsel: And was that the truth? ...

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