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08/18/88 the People of the State of v. Michael Laremont

August 18, 1988





528 N.E.2d 249, 174 Ill. App. 3d 201, 123 Ill. Dec. 704 1988.IL.1271

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Logan County; the Hon. David L. Coogan, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court. McCULLOUGH and SPITZ, JJ., concur.


On December 30, 1986, a grand jury charged the defendant, Michael Laremont, with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 12-16(c)(1).) After a bench trial, the circuit court of Logan County convicted defendant and on October 2, 1987, sentenced him to a period of two years' probation with a condition that he serve 60 days in the county jail. Defendant appeals his conviction and sentence. We affirm.

The complainant in this case, R.M., testified that in February and September of 1986 she was 12 years old and lived with her two sisters, two brothers and parents in Lincoln, Illinois. On February 14, 1986, R.M. said defendant came to her house bringing her and her younger sister, M.M., wristwatches for Valentine's Day. The watch defendant gave to R.M. did not work. Defendant and R.M. drove alone to K mart to exchange it. R.M. testified she noticed that on the way home from the store defendant was taking a peculiar route. When she questioned defendant, he said he knew where he was going. R.M. said defendant stopped the car in a driveway by a Holiday Inn which was not on the way to or near her home. Defendant turned off the car, locked the doors, slid his hand up R.M.'s leg and kissed her with his tongue in her mouth. When R.M. objected, defendant told her it was alright and he kissed her again. Defendant then began to drive R.M. home. R.M. said defendant stopped the car again in an alley where he kissed her a third time, but did not touch her leg. Defendant told R.M. not to tell anyone what they had done.

R.M. testified she told her younger sister, M.M., about the incident later that day, but did not tell her mother until two days later. R.M. told her mother because she did not want defendant to baby-sit her while she was home from school and her mother was at work.

R.M. told the court that on September 7, 1986, she and her two sisters, M.M. (10 years old) and L.M. (3 years old), were asleep in their bedroom when R.M. felt a hand on her buttocks and felt someone bite her ear. When she turned over and looked up she saw it was defendant who touched her. R.M. said the door was shut, but light came through the window and the hole in the door where the doorknob had broken off. R.M. could see defendant sitting on the bed with his shorts and underwear pulled down around his knees so that his penis was exposed. R.M. said defendant tried to lie on her and "fit his private on my private," but stopped when M.M. awoke and started screaming. Defendant just barely touched R.M.'s stomach with his penis. When M.M. grabbed a book and told defendant she would hit him if he did not get off R.M., defendant told both girls to shut up, pulled up his pants and left the room. M.M. and R.M. woke up their mother and told her what had happened.

M.M. testified she was sleeping with her sisters in their bedroom on September 7, 1986, when she was awakened by R.M., who was shaking the bed. M.M. said defendant was standing by the bed with his pants down around his knees. M.M. saw defendant sit down on the bed and put his "private" on R.M. M.M. said she threatened to hit defendant with a book if he did not get off her sister. When defendant left the room, R.M. said he had bitten her on the ear.

The victim's mother, Cheryl Cook (Mrs. Cook), testified that two days after Valentine's Day, R.M. indicated that on the way home from exchanging a wristwatch defendant had given her, defendant had kissed her with his tongue in her mouth and touched her on the upper thigh. Mrs. Cook related this to her husband Richard and they confronted defendant. The police were not contacted because the couple thought they could handle the matter themselves. Mrs. Cook said defendant was a friend and Richard and defendant played basketball frequently.

Mrs. Cook testified defendant came over to watch a movie on the evening of September 7, 1986. She went to bed at 9:30 or 10 p.m. but was awakened by R.M. and M.M. around 2:30 or 3 a.m. the next morning. Mrs. Cook testified the girls were crying and upset. R.M. told her mother defendant had been in her bedroom, had his pants down and tried to get on top of her. R.M. also complained defendant bit her ear and pushed her down on the floor. M.M. told Mrs. Cook her version of the incident.

John Cook, a county detective, testified he interviewed defendant on September 16, 1986, about his contact with R.M. on February 14, 1986. Defendant told the officer he gave R.M. a friendly kiss on the way home from exchanging a birthday gift he had bought her. He denied putting his tongue in her mouth or touching her in any other way that day or on September 7, 1986.

Defendant, age 31, testified that on February 14, 1986, he took R.M. to K mart to exchange a watch he had given R.M. as a gift. Defendant said that on the way home he stopped at a stop sign and asked R.M. if she liked the watch. She said yes and he said, "[Why] don't you give me some sugar right here on the cheek?" R.M. kissed him on the cheek and he took her home. He denied locking the car doors, touching her on the leg or kissing her with his tongue in her ...

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