Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 98--CF--1377 Honorable Anne Brackley Jorgensen, Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Geiger
Following a bench trial, the defendant, Robert Calusinski, was convicted of criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12--15(a)(1) (West 1998)) and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred in permitting the State to examine the victim in a leading manner; (2) he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; and (3) the act of kissing cannot constitute an "act of sexual conduct" for purposes of the offense of criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12--15(a)(1) (West 1998)). We affirm.
On July 16, 1998, the defendant was charged by indictment with the offense of criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12--15(a)(1) (West 1998)). The indictment alleged that, on June 22, 1998, the defendant, by threat or use of force, committed an act of sexual conduct with the six-year-old victim, J.R. Specifically, the defendant was alleged to have placed his tongue in the victim's mouth for the purpose of his sexual arousal. The indictment also alleged that the defendant had previously been convicted of indecent liberties with a child in 1983.
At trial, the victim testified that she was six years old. She testified that, a couple of days after her birthday, she went outside to look for a stuffed animal that she had lost in her yard. When she went outside, she took a flashlight because it was dark. The victim saw the defendant standing in her front yard. In response to the State's repeated questioning concerning what the defendant did after she saw him, the victim testified that she did not know. After several leading questions posed by the State, the victim testified that the defendant placed his arms on her and kissed her on the lips. The victim also testified that the defendant's tongue touched her during the kiss.
When repeatedly asked by the State where the defendant's tongue touched her, the victim testified that she did not know. The State asked this question and received this response from the victim a total of five times. The following exchange then occurred between the assistant State's Attorney and the victim:
"Q. After you were outside with [the defendant] and he kissed you, where did you go?
Q. And when you went inside, what did you do?
Q. What did you tell your mom?
Q. What did you say he kissed you with?
Q. When he kissed you, did he kiss you only with his lips?
Q. Well, did you tell your mom that -- did you tell your mom that he kissed you with his lips?