Diffuclty In Proving Rape Charges When Victim Is a Child With Limited Knowledge of Body Parts and a Juvenile Vocabulary
In State v. Wells, 91 Ohio St.3d 32, 2001 Ohio 3, 740 N.E.2d 1097, the facts showed that the offender had extensively penetrated the crevice between the minor victim's buttocks with his penis, but the facts failed to show actual penetration of the victim's anus. the supreme court upheld the reversal of the rape conviction finding there was insufficient evidence to prove the crime of rape. Id.
When the victim is a child with a limited knowledge of body parts and a juvenile vocabulary, it can be very difficult to ascertain whether penetration occurred.
In State v. McConnell, 2004 Ohio 4263, the appeals court affirmed a conviction of anal rape where an eight-year-old girl claimed that she woke up to her father "putting his front in my back."
The court found there was sufficient proof of penetration where she told the doctor that her father "put his thing in my butt," a medical exam showed she had an anal fissure, and the little girl testified at trial that when her father's "front" went into her "back" just a little bit, it hurt her.
Likewise, in State v. Matha (1995), 107 Ohio App.3d 756, 669 N.E.2d 504, the appeals court found sufficient evidence of rape where there was physical evidence of anal scarring, a therapist and social worker testified that the victims exhibited symptoms consistent with sexual abuse, and the five and six-year-old victims "testified with clarity that the 14-year-old offender had 'put his weiner in my butt'". Id.
Recently in a case where the child victim was determined to be incompetent to testify, this court found sufficient evidence of rape based upon the out-of-court statements made by the young victim to her mother, to a nurse, and to a social worker. In re D.L., Cuyahoga App. No. 84643, 2005 Ohio 2320.
In In re D.L., the nurse testified that although the medical exam showed no evidence of physical injury, the child stated to her that, "he stick - stick me on a stick." Id. Also, a social worker testified that during her interview with the child, the three-year-old victim was able to explain what happened to her using anatomical pictures and gave the social worker "a great deal of detail." Id.