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02/19/87 the People of the State of v. Charles Tannahill

February 19, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

CHARLES TANNAHILL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT

504 N.E.2d 1283, 152 Ill. App. 3d 882, 105 Ill. Dec. 765 1987.IL.180

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Wayne County; the Hon. Donald E. Garrison, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE KARNS delivered the opinion of the court. KASSERMAN and JONES, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE KARNS

Defendant, Charles Tannahill, was convicted by a jury of one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and two counts of indecent liberties against his 12-year-old daughter in connection with three incidents on October 17, 1982, October 17, 1983, and December 20, 1984. He was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment on one count of indecent liberties, 7 years' on the second count and 7 years' on the count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, all to be served concurrently. Defendant appeals. We affirm.

On October 17, 1982, defendant took complainant to a nearby Pizza Hut restaurant for her 10th birthday. On the way to the restaurant, they stopped at a cemetery, where defendant made complainant pull down her pants. After unsuccessfully attempting to have sexual intercourse with complainant, he made her perform fellatio.

On October 17, 1983, defendant again took complainant to the same restaurant to celebrate her birthday and on the way stopped at the same cemetery. He made complainant pull down her pants and again unsuccessfully attempted intercourse. He made her perform fellatio and then rubbed her vagina with his hand.

The third incident occurred in December of 1984. Defendant took complainant out of school, supposedly for a dentist appointment. He took her home, brought her into his bedroom, and unsuccessfully attempted to have intercourse with her. He then unsuccessfully tried anal sex and made her engage in oral sex with him.

Complainant also testified to two other incidents occurring in 1983, both of which were witnessed by her two brothers. She further stated defendant initiated sexual activity with her when she was nine years of age and that this activity occurred two or three times a week during 1983 and 1984 whenever her mother was not at home. Defendant denied engaging in any sexual conduct with complainant.

Defendant first argues on appeal the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of indecent liberties and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Defendant asserts complainant's testimony was neither clear and convincing nor substantially corroborated to sustain his convictions.

To sustain a conviction for taking indecent liberties with a child when that conviction is based upon the testimony of the child, the testimony must be clear and convincing or otherwise corroborated. (E.g., People v. Taylor (1978), 64 Ill. App. 3d 279, 281, 381 N.E.2d 303, 305.) Such accusations are easily made, hard to prove, and even harder to defend. (People v. Nunes (1964), 30 Ill. 2d 143, 146, 195 N.E.2d 706, 707.) The issue of credibility, however, is for the trier of fact. (People v. Robinson (1981), 94 Ill. App. 3d 304, 309, 418 N.E.2d 899, 903.) A reviewing court must give due weight to the judgment of the trier of fact as to credibility of the witnesses, and its finding of guilt will not be disturbed unless the evidence is so unsatisfactory as to warrant a reasonable doubt of guilt. (People v. Bolyard (1974), 23 Ill. App. 3d 497, 499-500, 319 N.E.2d 265, 267, modified (1975), 61 Ill. 2d 583, 338 N.E.2d 168.) We find complainant's testimony to be sufficiently clear and convincing, as well as sufficiently corroborated, to sustain defendant's convictions.

Defendant argues complainant made certain inconsistent statements which prevent her testimony from being clear and convincing. Defendant takes issue with two statements given by complainant to defendant's attorney. These statements were made in defendant's attorney's office during two interviews with complainant alone on April 22 and April 30 of 1985. The first statement, however, is not inconsistent with her trial testimony but merely omitted detail. She could not remember what happened on October 17, 1982, October 17, 1983, and December 20, 1984, but did remember the dates and circumstances surrounding each incident and that something definitely happened on each occasion. She also stated she told her mother three or four times that her father was molesting her. In the April 30 statement, complainant again alleged her father engaged in sexual activity with her on the three named occasions. The discrepancy arises solely in the degree or type of sexual activity. Complainant never wavered, however, in alleging that her father sexually molested her.

Defendant also attacks his daughter's credibility in relation to a statement given by complainant to a Department of Children and Family Services caseworker. The caseworker conducted three interviews with complainant on the same day. During the third interview, complainant stated, when extremely tired, embarrassed, and on the verge of crying, that she did not recall being sexually molested by her father on December 20, 1984. The complainant's denial is understandable in view of the surrounding circumstances and does not render her testimony at trial incredible or so ...


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