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People v. Rapp

September 19, 2003

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ROBERT D. RAPP, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Henry County, Illinois No. 00--CF--24 Honorable Alan G. Blackwood, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Holdridge

PUBLISHED

A jury found the defendant, Robert D. Rapp, guilty of two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child (720 ILCS 5/12--14.1(a)(1) (West 2000)). He was sentenced to two consecutive terms of 11 years' imprisonment. His post-conviction petition was denied at the third stage of the proceedings. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying his petition. Specifically, he contends that his due process rights were violated because at trial the State failed to disclose that one of its witnesses was a convicted felon. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

The defendant was charged with having committed two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child with a minor, N.P., in 1998 and 1999 in Henry County. According to testimony at trial, N.P. was approximately eight or nine years old when these offenses occurred.

N.P. is the daughter of Denise Torrence and Gerald P. After Denise and Gerald were divorced, Denise was granted custody of N.P. and Gerald was allowed visitation. Gerald moved to Iowa, where he lived with Stephanie Swisher.

Denise developed a relationship with the defendant. Eventually, Denise, the defendant, and N.P. began living together.

After Denise was convicted of driving under the influence, Gerald commenced proceedings to gain custody of N.P. During the custody hearing, the defendant testified on Denise's behalf. Gerald's initial petition to obtain custody of N.P. was denied.

At trial, the State played for the jury a video tape of an interview of N.P. conducted by Carol Nigh, a clinical social worker. In the tape, N.P. described the sex acts committed on her by the defendant on two occasions.

N.P. testified at trial. Her testimony was less detailed than her description of events had been during the taped interview. Nigh also testified.

At trial, Denise, Gerald, and Stephanie all testified concerning the contextual events surrounding N.P.'s allegations of the defendant's criminal conduct with her. Each of these witnesses, however, stated that N.P. had not told him or her the details of the sex acts.

Gerald testified about the custody and visitation arrangements that he and Denise had regarding N.P. He stated that N.P. was with him and Stephanie in Iowa during most of the summer of 1999. At the end of the summer, N.P. returned to Illinois to live with Denise and the defendant. After N.P. had been "in school maybe a week or so," the defendant and some of his relatives called Gerald to tell Gerald that they did not know where Denise was. They asked Gerald to come and get N.P. Because Gerald was a professional truck driver, he was not home and could not pick up N.P. at that time. At Gerald's request, Stephanie and Gerald's sister traveled to Illinois to pick up N.P. and bring her back to Iowa.

After Gerald returned home, he learned of N.P.'s allegations against the defendant from other adults, but not from N.P. Gerald testified that he never discussed the details of the allegations with N.P. He stated that he only told N.P. not to lie and that she should tell the truth.

The defendant testified in his own defense. He denied having engaged in the sex acts N.P. had described in the taped ...


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