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People v. Allison





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lawrence County; the Hon. Robert W. Whitmer, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, Peter Allison, was charged by information with committing indecent liberties with a child by performing an act of lewd touching in violation of section 11-4(a)(3) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 11-4(a)(3)). Following a bench trial in the circuit court of Lawrence County, defendant was convicted and sentenced. On appeal, defendant contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, that items seized from his trailer home were not sufficiently described in the search warrant and that certain State's exhibits were improperly admitted into evidence.

The victim and complaining witness in this case was six years old at the time of the incident in question. He testified that on April 17, 1980, he saw defendant talking to a group of boys outside of defendant's trailer home in Lawrenceville. After defendant finished talking to the boys, complainant and defendant went into the trailer where they were alone. Complainant testified that he had recognized defendant from the township swimming pool the previous summer.

Complainant entered the kitchen of the trailer and found a label gun. He made a label with his name which he put on his jacket. Defendant also was in the kitchen for a few minutes until he went into the front room and lay down. Complainant then went into the bathroom and defendant brought some books from a room with a curtain door. When complainant returned, defendant grabbed him "between the legs" and was told to stop by complainant.

After this incident, defendant showed complainant books which had "pictures of naked ladies." Defendant then grabbed him again between the legs and "fooled." Complainant told defendant to stop and again he complied. Following this second touching, defendant asked complainant if he had ever seen his sister "without any clothes on," to which he replied, "No." Complainant then left defendant's trailer and rode his bicycle home.

Complainant's mother testified that on the day in question she was concerned because her son did not return home until late. She stated that she noticed that when he returned he had a label with his name taped to his jacket. She further testified that her son always told the truth though he sometimes exaggerated.

Complainant's father testified that his son told him that defendant showed him some "nasty books." He stated that his son exaggerated to his brothers and sisters but "wouldn't exaggerate about something like that." Complainant's father admitted that he used the word "magazines" in his search warrant affidavit and the word "book" at the preliminary hearing.

Defendant testified in his own behalf that on April 17, 1980, he invited complainant into his trailer home and offered him a glass of soda. As he was pouring the soda, complainant went into the living room and began looking at a book entitled, "Show Me." Defendant testified that he told complainant that he was too young to look at that book and then took it away from him and brought it into a second bedroom which had a curtain door. Complainant then followed defendant into this room and defendant suggested that they both return to the front room.

Defendant testified that on April 19, 1980, complainant came to the door of his trailer and asked to see the book he had looked at previously. Defendant stated that he refused to show him the book and heard complainant say as he was leaving that, "I'm going to tell my father."

On cross-examination, defendant stated that he had no sexual contact with complainant, and that such contact was repugnant to him. He further testified that he did not collect "kiddie pornography" and did not have any order blanks for such material in his trailer.

Defendant's wife testified that at the time of her husband's arrest there were no advertisements for child pornography in the trailer. In addition, she corroborated defendant's testimony that complainant asked to see more of the book "Show Me" on April 19, 1980.

The State offered into evidence State's exhibits Nos. 5, 6 and 7 consisting of advertising for child pornographic material which had been seized from defendant's trailer pursuant to a search warrant. The trial court admitted the State's exhibits over the objection of defendant for the limited purpose of impeachment.

• 1 Defendant's first contention on appeal is that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the offense of indecent liberties with a child. It is well settled that where a conviction of this offense depends on the testimony of the complaining witness, and defendant denies the charge, there must be substantial corroboration of his testimony, or the testimony must be clear and convincing. The testimony of a complaining witness, however, need not be crystal clear and perfect as far as memory is concerned in order for his testimony to be clear and convincing. People v. Boyd (1980), 87 Ill.3d 978, 982, 409 N.E.2d 392, 397.

Defendant contends that the testimony of the complaining witness in the instant case was neither clear and convincing nor substantially corroborated. In support of this contention, defendant asserts that complainant was only seven years old when he testified, and he had a tendency to exaggerate. Defendant also questions the validity of complainant's testimony because complainant did not immediately report the incident. Defendant further contends that complainant's testimony concerning the ...

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