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People v. Bradford





Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Fifth District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, the Hon. Lehman Krause, Judge, presiding.


Curtis Michael Bradford was convicted by a jury in the circuit court of Jefferson County of two counts of indecent liberties with a child (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 11-4) and sentenced to two concurrent terms of six years. The appellate court, in a Rule 23 order (87 Ill.2d R. 23), affirmed the convictions (121 Ill. App.3d 1163), and we allowed the defendant's petition for leave to appeal under our Rule 315 (87 Ill.2d R. 315).

Bradford, age 30, was convicted of separate acts of lewd fondling and sexual intercourse, both occurring on the night of December 6, 1981, with his girlfriend's sister Joan, who was then 13 years old. The defendant was acquitted of a third charge of lewd fondling, alleged to have occurred on December 19, with the same victim.

On occasion, Joan would stay with Faye, her sister, who was the defendant's girlfriend, and the defendant in his home. As a prosecution witness, Faye testified that on December 6 she was in bed with Bradford when Joan appeared at the bedroom door. Bradford invited Joan into bed and asked her to remove her shorts and shirt. Faye testified that Bradford began kissing and fondling her sister. Faye became angry and left to sleep the rest of the night on a downstairs couch. She returned to the bedroom the next morning and pulled Joan, who was unclothed, from the defendant's bed.

Marcia, another sister who occasionally stayed at the defendant's house, testified that she saw the defendant and Joan lying close together in bed that morning. The witness was unable to say what either was wearing as they had blankets over them.

Called as a court's witness, Joan testified that she and Faye were sleeping in the defendant's bed while he was at work because it was a cold night and the defendant's room was the only upstairs room with a radiator. She was awake around 2 a.m. when Bradford returned from work and got into bed, but she stated that Faye slept between her and the defendant. She denied that there were any sexual relations between her and the defendant. The next morning, she was wearing shorts and a shirt when Faye pulled her from bed. She testified that she was in love with the accused and planned to marry him.

Joan said that, on December 23, she gave a statement to two agents of the Illinois Department of Criminal Investigations in which she said that she engaged in sexual intercourse with the defendant on December 6. She later initialed corrections in the typed statement and signed it. She identified the statement in court, but claimed that the agents coerced her into making it.

Gary Willaredt, one of the agents who interviewed Joan and who later typed the statement for her signature, testified that no pressure had been applied on Joan. There was corroborating testimony by the agent who accompanied Willaredt when the statement was taken and also by a third agent who was present with Willaredt when the statement was signed. Willaredt testified over objection that Joan told him that, on that night, Bradford first engaged in sexual intercourse with Faye and then with her. The statement was then admitted into evidence, over the defendant's objection, for the purpose of impeaching the inconsistent testimony of Joan.

Dr. Robert Parks, who examined Joan 17 days after the alleged incident at the request of her mother, testified that he was unable to state conclusively from a pelvic examination whether Joan had ever engaged in sexual intercourse. He did recall, after examining a hospital record he prepared while taking Joan's history, that Joan told him she had engaged in sexual intercourse on December 6. Dr. Parks also read from a second hospital record, compiled by a nurse present during the examination, which indicated that Joan told the nurse that the sexual intercourse on December 6 was with a 30-year-old man. While testifying as a court's witness, Joan was never asked if she made these statements to the doctor and nurse. Dr. Parks could not recall who was present during the examination and remembered that the nurse was there only through her signature on the record. The defendant objected to the doctor's testimony on the ground that there was no foundation for it, but the testimony was allowed for impeachment purposes.

Joan also testified as a witness for the defense. She acknowledged her conversations with the doctor and nurse, but said she never had told them the identity of the person with whom she had engaged in sexual intercourse and claimed that she had lied when she told the nurse that the man was 30 years old. On cross-examination, she admitted that, though she was lying at the time, she had been referring to the defendant in her conversation with the nurse.

The defendant took the stand and denied any sexual involvement with Joan. On the night in question, he returned from work at around 2 a.m. and found Faye and her sister in his bed. He got into bed with Faye next to him, and did not awaken until the next morning when Faye pulled Joan from the bed. He said that he was in love with Joan and intended to marry her despite her age. Sometime around December 19, Bradford said that he asked Joan's mother for permission to marry Joan.

On cross-examination, Bradford described an essay he wrote while awaiting trial that he had titled "The Crime of Love." In it he asserts his disagreement with laws which prohibit sexual activity with a child under 16 years because they are based on "arbitrary, discriminatory standards established by law denying the very possibility of a pure love developed between individuals of [different] chronological ages." On his motion, the essay was admitted into evidence.

During rebuttal testimony, Faye stated that the defendant on that night "kept on playing with her (Joan) and then ...

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