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State of New Jersey v. R.B

December 8, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
R.B., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Indictment No. 00-04-0722.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 9, 2010

Before Judges Parrillo and Espinosa.

Defendant R.B. appeals from a Law Division order denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

Following a mistrial, defendant was retried and convicted by a jury of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a (count one); second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2b (count two); second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a (count three); and the disorderly persons offense of child abuse, N.J.S.A. 2C:9-1 and 9:6-3 (count four). The facts, as stated in our unpublished opinion affirming defendant's conviction, are reiterated here:

In 1998, the victim, six-year-old C.R., went to live with his mother K.B. and defendant, K.B.'s husband, in Jersey City.

While living with his mother and defendant, C.R. displayed violent and erratic behavior. Examples of such behavior included harming, or attempting to harm, the family cat, and attempting to set a rug on fire in the family's home. K.B. asked C.R. on several occasions why he was behaving in such ways, and C.R. merely told his mother that he acted the way he did because "he wanted to do it."

K.B. and defendant separated in August 1999, however they continued to speak and often discussed reconciling. During that time, C.R. maintained his erratic and defiant behavior. Eventually, K.B.'s mother suggested that K.B. ask C.R. if anyone had touched him in an inappropriate manner when he was living with his natural father. C.R. initially denied that anyone had sexually abused him, but then implied that his father, C.R., Sr., had touched him inappropriately once. When K.B. asked C.R. again, he retracted his statement, saying that his father did not touch him, but that defendant did.

K.B.'s mother then contacted the police and C.R. was taken to the Jersey City Police Department's Sexual Assault Victims Advocacy (SAVA) Center. There, C.R. gave a statement explaining that defendant would force him to put defendant's penis in his mouth and that defendant would perform fellatio on C.R.

C.R. stated that these incidents took place in the car when defendant would take C.R. to school or at the laundromat, and once in the hallway of the family's apartment building.

Later that night, defendant was arrested and taken to the SAVA office for questioning. Defendant was advised of, and waived, his Miranda[] rights and agreed to speak to the police. Although initially denying the allegations, defendant eventually told police that he may have touched C.R.'s genitalia, but that he suffered from blackouts and could not recall whether he did or not.

At trial, C.R. testified that R.B. "stuck his private in my mouth," "a few times," and that once he "peed in my mouth." He was, however, unable to state with any specificity the number of times these assaults took place or exactly where, except that once it was "in the car."

Dr. Lynn Taska, a clinical psychologist, testified for the State as an expert witness on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome (CSAAS). Dr. Taska testified that CSAAS identified typical behaviors in children who have been sexually abused. Dr. Taska further stated that it was not unusual for sexually abused children to not immediately report an incident of sexual abuse because they "get that there's something bad about this and that they're supposed to keep it a secret." Dr. Taska also ...


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