On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Sussex County, Indictment No. 05-02-00058.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Stern and Lyons.
Defendant was convicted of two counts each of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1), second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2b, and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a. These charges involved defendant's nieces, A.L. and B.L. Defendant was sentenced to an aggregate sentence of thirty years in the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections with ten years to be served before parole eligibility. On this appeal he argues:
POINT I - THE COURT BELOW ERRED REFUSING TO ALLOW THE DEFENSE TO INTRODUCE EVIDENCE THAT B.B. HAD DREAMS ABOUT GHOSTS OVER A PERIOD OF TIME.
POINT II - THE RECORDED STATEMENT TAKEN FROM THE DEFENDANT SHOULD BE EXCLUDED.
POINT III - THE SENTENCE OF A MANDATORY MINIMUM PERIOD OF INCARCERATION WITHOUT PAROLE WAS NOT STATUTORILY AUTHORIZED NOR WAS THE IMPOSITION OF CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES.
We reject these contentions and conclude that only the following discussion is warranted in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2).
Defendant is the uncle of B.L., who was born in June 1991, and A.L., who was born in November 1996. Defendant and his sister-in-law's family were neighbors and had a close relationship. B.L. and A.L. would often spend time with defendant.
On August 29, 2004, A.L. slept over at defendant's home. The following morning, defendant dropped A.L. off at her house, and A.L. told her mother she did not sleep well the previous night. Upon learning this, B.L. told her mother that defendant "had been touching [her] for the past five years," beginning when B.L. was eight years old, and that defendant "would touch [her]" when she visited his house. B.L. said she would return home early from defendant's home because she was "uncomfortable" and that she "didn't want it to happen to [A.L.]." B.L. repeated her allegations to her father. B.L. indicated that she had kept this information a secret and had only told her best friend, A.G. B.L. did not talk to A.L. about the aforementioned conversation that day.
When A.L.'s parents asked her if anyone ever touched her "where you're not suppose to be touched," A.L. disclosed that defendant had touched her the previous night. When asked where she was touched, A.L. "pointed to her . . . vaginal area" and she said she was touched under her clothes. According to A.L., after finding her while playing hide and seek with defendant and her cousin, defendant "put his hands under [her night]gown," and touched her vaginal area. The children's mother discussed the matter with a friend who worked for a child abuse program and with the children's pediatrician. Thereafter the matter was reported to the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office. Both girls were simultaneously interviewed by different detectives, and the pediatrician and a forensic nurse conducted a physical examination of A.L.
B.L. testified at the trial. She stated that defendant began touching her when she was eight years old. According to B.L., the first time defendant abused her, she was at defendant's house because defendant was taking her bowling.
B.L. saw defendant nude through his open bedroom door as he was getting out of the shower. After defendant got dressed, he came out of his room and told B.L. he was going "to teach [her] something that two people that love each other do," but that she couldn't tell anyone or she would get in trouble. Defendant took off B.L.'s shorts and underwear and performed cunnilingus on her. B.L. testified that during that period, defendant ...