from the Circuit Court of Hancock County, No. 14-CF-36; the
Hon. Richard H. Gambrell, Judge, presiding.
E. Chadd, Peter A. Carusona, and Alan M. Freedman, of State
Appellate Defender's Office, of Ottawa, for appellant.
W. Pohren, State's Attorney, of Carthage (Patrick
Delfino, Lawrence M. Bauer, and Mark A. Austill, of
State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of
counsel), for the People.
JUSTICE SCHMIDT delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Carter and Justice McDade
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Defendant, Christopher M. Holmes, appeals from his
conviction for aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Defendant
argues (1) the circuit court improperly overruled defense
counsel's objection to lay opinion testimony regarding
defendant's intent and (2) the State failed to prove
aggravated criminal sexual abuse beyond a reasonable doubt.
3 On May 19, 2014, the State charged defendant with the
aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/11-1.60(d) (West
2014)) of M.S., a minor, who was at least 13 years of age but
under 17 years of age. The cause proceeded to a jury trial.
4 M.S. testified that in May 2014, she lived with her mother,
S.F.; two brothers, T.S. and G.S.; and defendant. Defendant
and S.F. were married; defendant was her stepfather. At the
time, M.S. was 16 years old. M.S. described her relationship
with defendant as "typical." However, in early
2014, defendant's relationship with M.S. changed; M.S. no
longer felt safe around defendant. In January 2014, defendant
picked M.S. up by placing his hands under M.S.'s arms.
Defendant swung M.S. in the air. While picking M.S. up, at
least one of defendant's hands slid under M.S.'s
shirt and touched an area under her bra. G.S. saw
defendant's actions and seemed surprised. Defendant let
go of M.S.; M.S. went to her room. G.S. told M.S.
"that's not right" or "he's a
pervert." M.S. initially did not take the incident
seriously as she attributed defendant's inappropriate
contact to an accident. After the incident, defendant began
treating M.S. "overly nicely."
5 On the evening of May 17, 2014, M.S. ate dinner at her
house with defendant and T.S. T.S. left the house after
dinner. Defendant went to the lower-level laundry room. While
T.S. was still at the kitchen table, defendant asked M.S. to
come downstairs to help him with the laundry. This was
unusual as each family member did their own laundry.
Nevertheless, M.S. went to the laundry room and started a
load of laundry in the washer. Defendant asked M.S.,
"Can you keep a secret?" M.S. responded, "It
depends what it is." Defendant said M.S.'s response
was not very convincing; defendant asked again if M.S. could
keep a secret. M.S. eventually said "sure."
Defendant then started pulling up the right side of her
shirt. M.S. told defendant to stop and hit his hand away.
When M.S. attempted to walk away, defendant grabbed her from
behind and stuck his hands up her shirt. M.S. said both of
defendant's hands were underneath her bra and touched her
breasts. M.S. yelled at defendant to stop, and defendant
replied in a sarcastic tone, "What am I doing?"
M.S. yelled," 'You're touching my F-ing
breasts.'" M.S. broke away from defendant, ran
upstairs, and locked herself in her bedroom. M.S. had left
her cell phone on the kitchen table so she made a Facebook
post asking if anyone had her mother's telephone number.
While M.S. was attempting to get the telephone number,
defendant knocked on her bedroom door and asked M.S. to
finish the glass of milk that she had left on the table. At
that point, approximately one hour had passed since M.S. ate
dinner. M.S. responded," '[o]bviously I'm not
going to come out of the room. You just attacked
me.'" M.S. heard defendant go into the bathroom, and
she hurried to the kitchen to retrieve her cell phone and
returned to her bedroom. M.S. sent a text message to S.F.
regarding the incident asking her to come home. S.F. called
M.S. and told her to call 911. S.F. then called defendant.
M.S. overheard defendant denying the incident while speaking
to S.F. on the telephone. M.S. called 911; she stayed in her
bedroom until police arrived.
6 On cross-examination, M.S. clarified that defendant
"firmly cupped" her breasts; he did not
"squeeze" or "rub" them. M.S.
occasionally had arguments with defendant regarding
"typical parent stuff." M.S. had wanted to attend a
festival in Chicago, but her biological parents would not let
her go because of the lack of adult supervision. Defendant
also did not want M.S. to go to the festival but her
biological parents ultimately made the decision.
7 S.F. testified that, in 2014, she and defendant were
married and lived together with her three children, T.S.,
M.S., and G.S. On May 17, 2014, S.F. worked at a nursing home
from 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Toward the middle of her shift, she
received a text message from M.S. M.S.'s message was
unusual in that she did not ordinarily contact her mother at
work. In the message, M.S. asked S.F. to come home right away
because defendant had attacked her. She sent a reply text
that directed M.S. to" '[g]o to [her] room and be
safe.'" S.F. then called defendant and said:
" 'What the hell were you doing?' And
[defendant] said, 'What do you mean?' And I said,
'Did you touch my daughter?' And [defendant's]
exact words were, 'She never comes out of her room. How
can I touch her?' And I said 'You're lying.'
And I hung up."
overheard S.F.'s conversation with defendant; she sent
S.F. a text message that said defendant was lying.
8 S.F. called M.S. after she got off the phone with
defendant. M.S. sounded scared and did not exhibit her usual
quiet demeanor. S.F. told M.S. ...