On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Indictment No. 02-06-1220.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 22, 2007
Before Judges Lintner and Sabatino.
Tried to a jury, defendant Glynn Rex Williams was convicted of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1); second-degree sexual assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2b; and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a. The offenses arose out of the improper touching of a six-year-old girl, B.D., in her parents' bedroom while defendant and his wife were staying at her home. Defendant was sentenced to a merged twelve-year prison term.
Defendant contends that he was wrongly convicted because the trial judge barred testimony that B.D.'s parents had asked him to submit to a polygraph examination before they reported his alleged conduct to the police. He also appeals his sentence on grounds of excessiveness. We affirm.
The State's proofs at trial established the following facts. In August 2001, defendant and his wife, Jackie Williams, were visiting the home of Jackie's relatives, including B.D., who was six years old at the time. B.D. lived in the house with her mother, G.D., and her father, D.D. Jackie and G.D. are cousins, and they saw each other and their respective families about once a year. B.D. was familiar with defendant, and called him "Uncle" even though he was not actually her uncle.
As of August 2001, Jackie had been married to defendant for about ten years. Although defendant has adult children and grandchildren from two previous marriages, he and Jackie did not have any children together. At the time of the offense, defendant was sixty years old.
The Williams were spending a few days with B.D.'s family in August 2001 before heading to another family member's birthday party. Sometime in the late morning of August 9, 2001, B.D. was watching cartoons in her parents' bedroom upstairs when defendant came into the room. Her mother, G.D., and Jackie were in the house at the time, having a conversation in the kitchen. B.D.'s father, D.D., had just left for work about fifteen minutes earlier.
According to B.D., as she was sitting on her parents' bed, defendant came over to her, pushed her knees apart, and licked her vagina. She was wearing a bathing suit, and defendant pulled her suit to the side. B.D. testified that she tried to push her legs back together, but she could not. Defendant exposed himself to B.D. and walked out of the room. B.D. then washed herself in her parents' bathroom, and went downstairs to tell her mother what had happened.
G.D. testified that she was sitting at the kitchen table that morning with her cousin Jackie when she saw defendant come downstairs and go out onto the deck. A few minutes later, B.D. came downstairs, went over to G.D., and told her she had to talk to her. According to G.D., her daughter "looked concerned. She looked somber. She looked scared." G.D. also recalled that her daughter spoke in a whisper.
Because B.D. wanted to talk to her mother privately, the two of them went into the living room, where B.D. disclosed what had happened up in the bedroom. Specifically, G.D. recalled that B.D. told her, "Uncle Glynn licked me between the legs."
After that conversation, G.D. took B.D. up to her bedroom and locked the door, and B.D. repeated what she told her downstairs. She also told her mother that, after defendant had licked her, he asked her if it felt good. G.D. asked her daughter if defendant had "put anything inside of [her]." B.D. replied that he had not, except for his tongue.
G.D. then went downstairs and approached her cousin Jackie. She told Jackie what B.D. had told her, and then let Jackie speak with B.D. alone. Jackie then met with B.D. The accounts of their meeting varied slightly. According to B.D., Jackie raised nothing of substance to her. According to Jackie, she asked B.D. if perhaps defendant and she had been "horse playing" and if he had just touched her by accident, but B.D. did not reply.
Jackie then went downstairs to confront defendant about what was going on. She testified that he told her, "I didn't do anything to that child." G.D., meanwhile, testified that defendant only spoke to her in passing, and said that perhaps B.D. was confused. G.D. did not call her husband at the time because she feared he would come home and there would be a "physical encounter." Instead, defendant and Jackie packed up and left to stay with other relatives, having already planned on leaving later that day.
After the Williams left, G.D. called her husband, D.D., and apprised him of the situation. D.D. called defendant later that night to ask what had happened. According to D.D., defendant replied that he didn't do anything wrong, although he did ask D.D. how he could "make it better."
About a month later, D.D. and G.D. went to Long Beach Island and met with Jackie to discuss the situation. Defendant was not present for that conversation. According to D.D., they had met hoping to "resolve th[e] issue," but apparently that did not happen. As Jackie recalled it, B.D.'s parents wanted defendant to take a polygraph test. Jackie responded that her husband would take one when they got back to their home in Texas.
Upon returning to Texas, however, defendant sought the advice of a lawyer. Following that consultation, defendant decided that he would not take a polygraph test in Texas. Instead, defendant and Jackie, who were expecting to move to California, told B.D.'s parents that defendant would take the test when he got to California. A few months later, while still living in Texas, Jackie received another call from B.D.'s parents, who were upset ...