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State v. Poulos
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Decision:1998 ME 43 
on Briefs:January 8, 1998
Decided:	March 4, 1998




	[¶1] Defendant Gregory Poulos appeals from judgments of conviction
entered in the Superior Court (Cumberland County, Crowley, J.) on jury
verdicts finding him guilty of four counts of unlawful sexual contact, 17-A
M.R.S.A. § 255(1)(C) (1983 & Supp. 1997).{1}  Defendant contends that the
court erred in admitting evidence of uncharged conduct and in excluding
evidence of his reputation for truthfulness and veracity.  He also contends
that the court erred in refusing to give his requested jury instructions. 
Finding no error, we affirm the judgments.
	[¶2] The facts may be summarized as follows: In 1991, defendant
married a woman who had two young daughters from a prior marriage.  The
younger of the two daughters testified that two to three months after she
and her sister moved into defendant's home, he pulled her onto his lap and
touched her genitals through her clothing.  She testified that defendant
touched her on other occasions and that once he had unsuccessfully
attempted to insert his finger in her vagina.  The older daughter testified
that six months after moving into defendant's home, he was roughhousing
with her when his hand hit her genitals.  Although at first she thought it was
an accident, after it happened several times, she concluded defendant was
intentionally touching her.  Both girls lived with defendant for three years
before their mother and defendant separated.  The girls' first accusations
were made two years after they moved out of his house.  Defendant testified
and denied that he had ever touched them inappropriately.  The jury
convicted defendant on all four counts and he now appeals.
	[¶3] Defendant first argues that the court erred in denying his motion
in limine to exclude evidence of uncharged conduct; namely incidents of
unlawful sexual contact with the girls, other than the four incidents charged
in the indictment.  Because defendant failed to renew his objection to the
evidence when offered at trial, the issue is unpreserved.  See State v.
Thomes, 1997 ME 146, ¶ 7, 697 A.2d 1262, 1264 (rejecting argument that
motion in limine put the court on notice of objection and thus preserved the
issue).  Accordingly, we will vacate the judgment only if the conviction
results from a fundamentally unfair trial.  Id.
	[¶4] Pursuant to M.R. Evid. 404(b),{2} evidence of other crimes or
wrongs is inadmissible to show that the person acted in conformity
therewith, but we have repeatedly held that the evidence may be admissible
if offered to prove motive, opportunity, intent, or plan.  State v. Thomes,
1997 ME 146, ¶ 8, 697 A.2d 1262, 1264.  In cases involving sexual
offenses, evidence of prior similar uncharged conduct has been admitted to
show "the relationship between the parties that in turn sheds light on
defendant's motive (i.e., attraction to the victim), intent (i.e., absence of
mistake), and opportunity (i.e., domination of the victim) to commit the
crime with which he was charged." State v. Nadeau, 653 A.2d 408, 410 (Me.
1995) (citation omitted).  Here, the court committed no error, obvious or
otherwise, in admitting evidence of uncharged conduct to show the
relationship between defendant and his step-daughters.
	[¶5] Defendant next contends that his character for truthfulness was
attacked when he was cross-examined by the State, and therefore, the court
erred in refusing to allow him to present reputation evidence of character
pursuant to M.R. Evid. 608(a).  We review the exclusion of such evidence for
an abuse of discretion,  State v. Mazerolle, 614 A.2d 68, 73 (1992), and we
find none.  Defendant was cross-examined with regard to the consistency of
his version of the events, but that is not sufficient to allow rehabilitation
through the use of character evidence.  See State v. Coffen, 520 A.2d 1071,
1072 (Me. 1987); State v. Mazerolle, 614 A.2d 68, 73 (Me. 1992); Field &
Murray, Maine Evidence,  608.3 at 268 (4th ed. 1997).
	[6] Finally, defendant challenges the court's jury instructions.  He
argues that the court erred in declining to instruct the jury that a criminal
conviction would preclude defendant from relitigating issues essential to
conviction in any subsequent civil action for damages.  Defendant offers no
authority for his requested instruction other than a misreading of our
opinion in State v. Whitman, 429 A.2d 203 (Me. 1981).  There, we held that
the trial court erred in refusing to admit evidence, in a criminal trial, of the
victim's pending civil action against the defendant.  We held that such
evidence was relevant to the issue of credibility.  Id. at 205.  In this case, the
possibility of subsequent civil action for money damages was fully explored
by defendant in cross-examining the girls' parents.  The court's instructions
correctly informed the jurors that they could consider a witness's bias and
motive for testifying.  Defendant was entitled to nothing further.
	[7]  The remaining challenges to the jury instructions are without
merit and require no discussion.
	The entry is:
					Judgments affirmed.
Attorneys for State: Stephanie Anderson, District Atttorney Julia A. Sheridan, Asst. Dist. Atty. 142 Federal Street Portland, ME 04101 Attorneys for defendant: Karen L. Morgan, Esq. Daniel G. Lilley Law Offices, P.A. P O Box 4803 Portland, ME 04112
FOOTNOTES******************************** {1} The statute provides in relevant part: 1. A person is guilty of unlawful sexual contact if the person intentionally subjects another person to any sexual contact, and; c. The other person, not the actor's spouse, has not in fact attained the age of 14 years and the actor is at least 3 years older. 17-A M.R.S.A. § 255(1)(C). {2} The rule provides: Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of the person in order to show that he acted in conformity therewith. M.R. Evid. 404(b).