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Bateman v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

August 15, 2013

Clayton Paul BATEMAN a/k/a Clayton P. Bateman
v.
STATE of Mississippi.

Rehearing Denied Nov. 21, 2013.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 619

Office of State Public Defender bye Hunter N. Aikens, George T. Holmes, Francis Ryan Brossetti, attorneys for appellant.

Office of the Attorney General by Stephanie B. Wood, attorney for appellee.

EN BANC.

WALLER, Chief Justice.

¶ 1. Clayton Paul Bateman was convicted in the Harrison County Circuit Court of two counts of sexual battery and two counts of touching a child for lustful purposes. He was sentenced to a total of thirty years' imprisonment. Bateman now appeals his conviction. Finding no reversible error, we affirm Bateman's convictions and sentences.

FACTS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 2. In 2009, Clayton Paul Bateman and Melissa Anglada lived together in a mobile home in Saucier, Mississippi, with their four children. Bateman and Anglada had dated for roughly a decade, but never married. Bateman was awarded custody of the couple's children in 2007, but the couple continued living together until the date Bateman was arrested. This case involves Bateman's two oldest daughters, " Rene" and " Bailey." [1] In 2009, Rene was nine years old, and Bailey was eight years old.

¶ 3. On March 16, 2009, Anglada called the Harrison County Sheriff's Department to report an allegation of sexual abuse of Rene by Bateman. Officer Bill Scarbrough responded to Anglada's parents' mobile home, where Anglada, Rene, and Bailey were located. After hearing the allegations of abuse, Officer Scarbrough contacted Deborah Lacey, a social worker with the Harrison County Department of Human Services. Lacey took Rene and Bailey to a Harrison County children's shelter.

¶ 4. On March 18, 2009, forensic psychologist Dr. Donald Matherne performed an assessment of Rene and Bailey at the request of the Department of Human Services. Rene told Dr. Matherne that Bateman would sometimes touch her vaginal area with his fingers underneath her clothes. He also would make her touch his " private area." Bailey also stated that Bateman had touched her vaginal area with his fingers underneath her clothes. Both girls told Dr. Matherne that Bateman had threatened them not to tell anyone about these touchings.

¶ 5. On March 19, 2009, Rene and Bailey were interviewed separately by Investigator Carolyn Prendergast, a criminal investigator for the Harrison County Sheriff's Department. Rene informed Investigator Prendergast that on March 16, Bateman had pulled her pants down and rubbed her " hiney" with his hand. (Rene and Bailey both refer to the female genitals as " hiney." ) Rene stated that Bateman had done this on multiple occasions, though she

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couldn't remember the first time it happened. In addition, Rene stated that Bateman would sometimes use his mouth and tongue to touch or lick her " hiney." Bateman also made Rene touch his " private" on several occasions. (Rene and Bailey both refer to the male genitals as " private" or " hiney." )

¶ 6. Bailey told Investigator Prendergast that when she was younger, Bateman would touch her " hiney" with his hand and would sometimes put his hand inside her " hiney." She could not remember any specific instances and initially stated that he had stopped this behavior when she was four years old. At first, Bailey informed Investigator Prendergast that she had never seen her father touch anyone else inappropriately, but she later stated that she once saw him touching Rene.

¶ 7. On March 20, 2009, Rene and Bailey were examined by Dr. Daniel Overbeck, an emergency room doctor at the Garden Park Medical Center in Gulfport, Mississippi. Dr. Overbeck conducted complete physical examinations of both girls. Bailey's exam was normal. Rene's hymen was absent, and there was some redness and irritation around her clitoris.

¶ 8. Bateman was arrested for the alleged sexual abuse of Rene and Bailey on March 18, 2009. He was indicted by a grand jury in Harrison County on January 19, 2010. Bateman was charged with three counts of sexual battery and two counts of touching a child for lustful purposes. Specifically, Count I charged Bateman with sexual battery for " inserting his finger into the vagina" of Rene. Count II charged Bateman with sexual battery for " performing cunnilingus" upon Rene. Count III charged Bateman with touching a child for lustful purposes for " touch[ing] or rub[bing] with his hands the vagina" of Rene. Count IV charged Bateman with sexual battery for " inserting his finger into the vagina" of Bailey. Count V charged Bateman with touching a child for lustful purposes for " touch[ing] or rub[bing] with his hands the vagina" of Bailey. All these acts were alleged to have occurred on or between March 16, 2008, and March 16, 2009.

¶ 9. At trial, Rene testified that on March 16, 2009, she went into Bateman's room and " he pulled my pants down and he put his hand in my pants and he rubbed my hiney." [2] She could not remember if Bateman had touched her underneath her underwear on that particular day. Rene stated that her father would touch her with his hands, his mouth, and his penis. Rene was questioned about the details of her father's behavior and gave the following response:

Q: You said that he touched you with his hand. Where on your body would he touch you with his hand ... ?
A: My private.
...
Q: When he would touch you with his hand ..., would that be on top of your clothes or would his skin be touching your skin?
A: Both.
...
Q: ... [T]he times when he would touch you with his hand and his skin would actually be touching your skin, did he keep his hand still or did he move it around any?
A: He moved it around.
She also described how Bateman would use his mouth to touch her inappropriately.
Q: Okay. Well, let's talk about when he would touch you with his mouth.

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Where on your body ... would he touch you?
A: My private.
...
Q: ... [W]as that on top of your clothes, or underneath?
A: Underneath my clothes.
Q: Was his skin touching your skin?
A: Yes.
Rene also testified that Bateman would make her touch his penis with her hands and mouth. When questioned about the frequency of this abuse, Rene could not give a specific answer, but stated that Bateman had never gone more than a month or two without touching her inappropriately in some way.

¶ 10. Bailey also testified that Bateman had touched her with his hands and mouth:

Q: Now, tell me, when your dad would touch you on your private place, what part of his body would touch you?
A: His hand or his mouth. Usually his hand, though.
...
Q: Okay. When he would touch you with his hand ..., was that on top of your clothes or was it underneath your clothes.
A: Both, but usually underneath.
Q: ... [Was] his skin touching your skin?
A: Yes.
Q: And when he would touch you with his hand, would he keep his hand still, or did he do something with his hands, or nothing?
A: He moved it.
...
Q: Okay. And ... you said he would [sic] that your dad would touch you with his mouth too?
A: Yes.
...
Q: Was that on top of your clothes or ...

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