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Adair v. State of Texas
Texas Court of Appeals
2013 WL 6665033 (2013)
Thomas Adair (plaintiff) sexually abused his granddaughter, G.T., repeatedly from the ages of five to nine, including one instance of penetrative rape. Adair told G.T. the sexual-abuse encounters were their shared secret. At one point, G.T. confided in her brother about the abuse, but G.T.’s brother did not believe her. When G.T. was nine, after approximately four years of abuse, she told Adair that she would tell her grandmother, Paula, about the abuse if Adair touched her again. There were no further instances of abuse after that. Approximately two years later, G.T. told her mother, Shelli Miller, that Adair had sexually abused and raped her. Miller immediately contacted the police. As part of the police investigation, G.T. was interviewed by a forensic interviewer, Mindy Graber. During the interview, G.T. described the abuse, repeated the rape allegation, and correctly identified the body parts involved on a diagram. G.T. was also examined by Kassy Havel, a sexual-assault nurse examiner. G.T. repeated her description of the sexual abuse and rape to Havel. The State of Texas (defendant) charged Adair with aggravated sexual assault of a child. During the jury-selection process, the state prosecutor showed potential jurors a photograph of Ted Bundy, a notorious serial killer, to demonstrate that appearances can be deceiving. At trial, the state introduced expert testimony from Dr. William Carter, a child psychologist specializing in child sexual abuse. During Dr. Carter’s questioning, the state presented a series of hypotheticals that closely resembled G.T.’s allegations. In response, Dr. Carter testified that most child victims were sexually abused by relatives, that the close relationship made it hard for children to disclose the abuse, that children often delayed reporting sexual abuse, and that the delayed reporting often emboldened the abuser. The jury convicted Adair. Adair appealed, arguing that (1) Dr. Carter inappropriately opined about the truthfulness of G.T.’s allegations; and (2) the state impermissibly compared Adair to Ted Bundy.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pemberton, J.)
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