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State v. Chand B.
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MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT 					Reporter of Decisions
Decision:	1998 ME 150 
Docket:	Ken-97-628
   on Briefs:	March 13, 1998
Decided:	June 17, 1998




	[¶1]  Chad B. appeals from the judgment entered in the Superior Court
(Kennebec County, Alexander J.) affirming the judgment entered in the
District Court (Augusta, Perry J.) convicting him of one count of Gross Sexual
Assault in violation of 17-A M.R.S.A. § 253 (Supp. 1997).  The defendant
argues, inter alia, that the court erred in determining that the State had
satisfied its burden of proving the corpus delicti exclusive of his admissions. 
Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of conviction.
	[¶2]  In March of 1996, the State charged the defendant, a juvenile,
with two counts of gross sexual assault in violation of 17-A M.R.S.A. § 253,
one against the victim and the other against her sister.  At the bench trial,
the State presented the testimony of the victim, the sister, and the
investigating police officer.  The victim and her sister explained that one
Thursday afternoon, they and the defendant went to a neighborhood pond to
look for frogs.  At the pond, they played a game of "truth or dare."  The
victim, who was twelve years old at the time of trial, testified that the
defendant removed some of her clothing, but she denied that he removed
her shirt or her pants.  She offered no other testimony in support of the
State's case.  The victim's sister, who was ten years old at the time of the
trial, testified that the victim dared the defendant to "'hump'" her.  She also
testified that the defendant removed both the victim's clothing and his
clothing.  In response to the question, "'[w]hat happened after he took [the
victim]'s clothes off,'" the sister responded, "'[h]e started doing it . . .
[h]umping at [the victim].'"  The State then asked the sister what she had
seen, and she replied, "'[n]othing.'"  Similarly, she testified on cross-
examination that she did not see anything happen between the defendant
and the victim.  The sister explained that when "'it'" happened, she was
"'trying to go home.'"  She testified that the defendant followed her, pulled
down her pants, and "'started doing it to me.'"  She said that she was lying
down, that the defendant was lying on top of her, and that he rubbed his
"'private'" against her "'private.'"  On cross-examination, however, she
testified that she did not know what a "'private'" is, and she could not
identify the part of the defendant's body and the part of her body that came
into contact.  
	[¶3]  The investigating police officer testified to statements made by
the defendant.  He stated that although the defendant originally denied
having sex with "'the girls,'" upon further inquiry the defendant stated,
"'[o]kay, I did it.'"  The officer then asked the defendant if he had had
intercourse with the victim, and the defendant said yes.  The officer also
asked the defendant, "'[d]id you ever put privates in [the victim's] privates,'"
and the defendant answered affirmatively.  The officer testified that the
defendant stated that "'he tried to do the same thing'" to the victim's
sister, but he did not because the girls "'ended up leaving.'"  
	[¶4]  The defendant did not object to the introduction of his
statements into evidence.  At the close of the State's case, however, he
moved for a judgment of acquittal, arguing that the court could not consider
the officer's testimony about his statements because the State had failed to
satisfy its initial burden of proving the corpus delicti.  Alternatively, he
argued that the State's evidence, including the officer's testimony about his
statements, failed to establish the elements of a gross sexual assault. 
Although the court did not explicitly reject the defendant's corpus delicti
argument, the court's analysis demonstrates such a rejection.  The court
granted the motion for judgment of acquittal relating to the alleged offense
against the sister, concluding on the basis of the sister's testimony and "the
testimony of Officer Armstrong with respect to the statements made by [the
defendant] to him," that the State had failed to establish every element of a
gross sexual assault.  The court denied the motion relating to the victim,
however, determining on the basis of "'the testimony given by [the sister] as
to her observations, coupled with the testimony of Officer Armstrong'" that
the State had met its evidentiary burden.  Subsequently, after the defendant
rested, the court explained that "in my ruling in reference to the Motion for
Judgment of Acquittal, I structured my consideration of the issue that way,
as to whether the State had put in sufficient corpus delicti evidence to
permit consideration by the Court of the testimony of the officer with
respect to statements made by" the defendant.  The court found the
defendant guilty of the gross sexual assault of the victim.  This appeal
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