STATE v. STEPHEN J. R., SC 18748
Judicial District of New Britain
Criminal; Sexual Assault; Whether Evidence was Sufficient to Prove that Defendant Abused the Victim on Four Distinct Occasions; Whether Trial Court Failed to Disclose Relevant DCF Records; Whether Prosecutor made Improper Remarks During Closing Argument that Denied Defendant a Fair Trial. The defendant, who was accused of sexually abusing the minor victim on four occasions, was charged with eight counts of sexual assault in the first degree and eight counts of risk of injury. At trial, the victim testified that the defendant abused her on "three or four" occasions and that she was forced to engage in two sexual acts each time. The defendant subsequently was convicted of all sixteen charges. On appeal, the defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he abused the victim on four separate and distinct occasions. He argues that the victim's testimony was too vague to support the guilty verdicts on all sixteen charges, as she described generally what happened each time the abuse occurred but did not differentiate between the incidents. In addition, the defendant contends that the trial court, after conducting an in camera review of the records of the department of children and families pertaining to the victim and her family, improperly failed to fully disclose all of the relevant records. Finally, the defendant asserts that the prosecutor, during closing argument, improperly appealed to the emotions of the jury and thereby denied him a fair trial.