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12/12/96 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. CHAD WAHL

December 12, 1996

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CHAD WAHL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 93--CF--1410. Honorable James T. Doyle, Judge, Presiding.

Rehearing Denied January 14, 1997. Released for Publication January 14, 1997.

The Honorable Justice Hutchinson delivered the opinion of the court: McLAREN, P.j., and Rathje, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hutchinson

JUSTICE HUTCHINSON delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, Chad Wahl, appeals the denial of his motion for a new trial and his motion to reduce or reconsider his sentence. Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of six counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12--16(C)(1)(i) (West 1992) (now 720 ILCS Ann. 5/12--16(C)(1)(i) (Smith-Hurd Supp. 1996))), one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12-- 14(b)(1) (West 1992) (now codified, as amended, at 720 ILCS Ann. 5/12--14(b) (Smith-Hurd Supp. 1996))), and one count of attempted aggravated criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/8--4(a), 12--14(b)(1) (West 1992) (now codified, as amended, at 720 ILCS Ann. 5/8--4(a), 12--14(b) (Smith-Hurd Supp. 1996))). Defendant was found not guilty of three counts each of aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The trial court sentenced defendant to 4 years' imprisonment for each count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, 10 years' imprisonment for the count of aggravated criminal sexual assault, and 7 years' imprisonment for the count of attempted aggravated criminal sexual assault. All sentences were to run consecutively. In total, defendant was sentenced to a 41-year term of imprisonment. This appeal timely followed the denial of defendant's post-trial motions.

On appeal, defendant contends (1) the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress statements made to Illinois State Police Detective Sergeant Thomas O'Donnell on March 11, 1992; (2) that concerning the psychological makeup of the complainants: (a) the State improperly presented evidence on post-traumatic stress disorder in such complainants, and (b) defendant's due process rights were violated because he was denied discovery concerning the psychological histories of the complainants; (3) the trial court erred by limiting bias impeachment of O'Donnell; (4) defendant should have received discovery concerning a civil suit filed by several of the complainants; (5) the trial court abused its discretion in imposing sentence; and (6) the trial court improperly imposed a sexual assault fine on defendant (see 730 ILCS 5/9--1.7(b)(1) (West 1994) (now 730 ILCS Ann. 5/9--1.7(b)(1) (Smith-Hurd Supp. 1996))). We affirm in part and we vacate in part.

The present case arises from incidents at a home for dependent children (the Home) beginning in summer 1991 and continuing to the date of defendant's arrest. Children living in the Home are assigned to group residence halls on the basis of each child's age and sex. Each residence hall is supervised by two live-in houseparents. The houseparents have at least one day off per week; on these days, the Home provides relief houseparents. Typically, there is one female and one male houseparent. The houseparents supervise their assigned residence halls and provide the children with structure, guidance, discipline, and parental care. Additionally, the houseparents accompany the children to and from school and assist them with their homework. The houseparents function as surrogate parents and, therefore, are the children's primary care givers.

On October 20, 1990, the Home hired defendant as a houseparent. For the first three months of his employment, defendant served as a houseparent in a hall for toddlers. From January to the middle of July 1991, defendant was a relief houseparent for a number of halls housing elementary school children. From July to October 1991, he was a relief houseparent in high school halls. Defendant served in this capacity until being assigned to New Jersey Hall in October 1991 as a permanent houseparent. Jane Bowen was the other permanent houseparent. New Jersey Hall is a residence hall for boys in their early teen years.

As a reward for performing their chores, the boys were permitted by Bowen and defendant to "campout" in the living room of New Jersey Hall on Friday and Saturday nights. Campouts consisted of playing video games and watching videotapes of movies rented by Bowen and defendant. The boys were then permitted to sleep on the living room floor in front of the television set. According to Bowen, the rules required one of the houseparents to sleep in the living room with the boys on campout nights.

O'Donnell began his investigation of defendant on March 5, 1992. Accompanying O'Donnell were Assistant State's Attorney Lynn Mirabella and Mary Heywood of the Department of Children and Family Services.

O'Donnell and defendant met at approximately 6 p.m. on March 5, 1992, in the office of the Home's superintendent. According to O'Donnell, people "were coming in and out" of the office throughout his conversation with defendant. O'Donnell informed defendant that "some students had said that he had touched them improperly." In response to defendant's query concerning who had made the allegations, O'Donnell replied he had to speak to the students before discussing the allegations with defendant. Defendant responded that he would wait and speak to O'Donnell after the officer completed his discussions with the students.

O'Donnell, along with Mirabella and Heywood, spoke with R.F. and E.S. between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. R.F. and E.S. were interviewed separately. O'Donnell did not participate in the interview of E.S.; Mirabella and Heywood interviewed E.S.

At approximately 8 p.m. O'Donnell summoned defendant. The officer took defendant to a counselor's office. There O'Donnell began the interview by reading defendant the Miranda warnings (see Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 467-74, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694, 720-23, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 1624-28 (1966)) from a card. O'Donnell asked defendant if he understood his rights; defendant replied "yes." The officer then asked defendant if he wished to talk; again, defendant replied "yes." O'Donnell told defendant that R.F. and E.S. said defendant had touched each of their penises; further, defendant had sucked on R.F.'s penis, according to the boy, after he had taken a shower.

While initially denying having any type of sexual contact with anyone at the Home, after approximately 30 minutes defendant admitted to having sexual contact with both R.F. and E.S. During a movie campout--in either June or July 1991, while defendant was a relief houseparent at Dixie Hall--he and R.F. were sleeping under the same blanket. Defendant accidentally touched R.F.'s penis. R.F.'s penis was erect and protruding through his pajamas at the time. Defendant moved his hand up and down R.F.'s penis for two or three minutes until someone bumped into defendant. Subsequently, defendant intentionally touched and stroked R.F.'s penis while the two slept under a blanket, apparently during a movie campout; defendant stated R.F. rubbed the defendant's pants at the same time. Defendant told O'Donnell he stopped after realizing what he was doing was wrong. Defendant denied sucking R.F.'s penis.

O'Donnell asked defendant if he had touched any other children in a sexual manner. According to defendant, he had touched K.W. on more than one occasion. Apparently, these incidents occurred before R.F. moved into Dixie Hall. Defendant said he and K.W. had been lying underneath a blanket watching television and "were cuddling very close." Defendant reached down and touched K.W.'s penis. According to defendant, K.W.'s penis was erect and protruding through his pajamas. Defendant stroked K.W's penis for two or three minutes. Defendant stated he engaged in this sort of conduct with K.W. on another occasion. ...


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