STATE v. VICTOR O., SC 17983

Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk


      Criminal; Risk of Injury; Whether Expert Should Have Been Permitted to Testify that Psychological Testing Showed that Defendant was not Sexually Interested in Boys; Whether Defense was Properly Precluded from Presenting Evidence that Complainant's Mother had Visited Pornographic Websites; Whether State's Child Abuse Expert was Properly Permitted to Testify that Interview with Child was used to Determine Whether Child's Complaint was Credible.  The defendant was convicted of sexual assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a minor in connection with allegations that he sexually abused his ex-wife's son.  At trial, the defendant sought to present an expert witness who would testify that he had performed psychological testing on the defendant that showed that he was not sexually interested in men or prepubescent males.  Among the tests administered by the expert was the Abel Assessment of Sexual Interest, which ostensibly measures the test-takers' sexual interest based on their reactions to slides of men, women, boys and girls.  The trial court ruled that the expert's testimony was inadmissible.  On appeal, the defendant claims that he should have been allowed to present the evidence concerning the psychological testing because it satisfied the standard for the admission of scientific evidence set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), as adopted in State v. Porter, 241 Conn. 57 (1997), in that it was both relevant and based on reliable scientific methods.  The defendant also claims that the court improperly restricted him from presenting evidence that the child's mother viewed pornographic websites on the family computer.  He contends that, because the state was allowed to present evidence that he accessed pornographic websites, fundamental fairness required that he be allowed to show that others in the house were also accessing such sites.  The defendant next contends that the trial court erred in permitting the state's child abuse expert witness to testify that one purpose of the forensic interview of the child was to determine whether his complaint was credible.  The defendant argues that the testimony permitted the jurors to infer that, because charges were later brought, the forensic interviewers had determined that the child was indeed credible, thus infringing on the defendant's right to have the jury decide the issue of the child's credibility.  Among the defendant's other claims on appeal are that the state should not have been permitted to refer to the complainant as "the victim" in front of the jury and that the prosecutor engaged in impropriety during closing argument.