Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County. No. 92-CF-179. Honorable Michael J. O'Malley, Judge Presiding.
Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied October 6, 1994.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rarick
JUSTICE RARICK delivered the opinion of the court:
Defendant, Robert LeCompte, was charged in the circuit court of St. Clair County with three counts of criminal sexual assault. The victim, C.B., was the eight-year-old daughter of the woman with whom LeCompte was living. The victim testified that LeCompte committed various sexual acts with her on numerous occasions. The victim's aunt, Jessica Capper, testified that on one occasion when C.B. had been visiting, she became very upset when told it was time to go home. According to Capper, C.B. told her that LeCompte had been having sex with her for over six months. Capper informed C.B.'s mother, and they took C.B. to a pediatrician. C.B. was later examined at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital by Dr. Timothy Fete, a pediatrician and member of the hospital's sexual abuse clinic. Based on C.B.'s history, her behavior, and his examination, Dr. Fete opined that C.B. had been sexually assaulted. Defendant denied committing any sexual acts with C.B. He testified that he felt he and C.B. got along well, although he occasionally had to discipline her. Defendant also testified that he believed C.B.'s familiarity with sexual acts was the result of having seen pornographic movies at Capper's home. He further testified that C.B. had been caught in a lie, telling relatives that she took baths with defendant.
At the Conclusion of the trial, the trial court instructed the jury and indicated a guilty and not guilty verdict form would be provided for each count.
The not guilty verdict form for Count I stated:
"We, the jury, find the defendant Robert LeCompte Not Guilty of the offense of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault in that the defendant placed his penis in the vagina of [C.B.]."
The not guilty verdict form for Count II stated:
"We, the jury, find the defendant Robert LeCompte Not Guilty of the offense of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault in that the defendant placed his penis in the anus of [C.B.]"
The not guilty verdict form for Count III stated:
"We, the jury, find the defendant Robert LeCompte Not Guilty of the offense of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault in that the defendant placed his penis in the mouth of [C.B.]"
The jury found LeCompte guilty on all three counts. Believing that consecutive sentences were mandatory, the trial court sentenced LeCompte to three consecutive terms of 20 years' imprisonment.
On appeal, defendant argues that he was denied a fair trial and the right to due process of law because the verdict forms did not permit the jury to acquit him. He maintains that the not guilty verdict forms assumed the truth of the disputed fact -- whether defendant had sexually penetrated C.B. -- and required the jury to find that he had in fact ...