State v. Lynds

In State v. Lynds, 158 Vt. 37, 42, 605 A.2d 501, 503 (1991), the Court reversed a conviction because the trial court violated defendant's confrontation clause rights by allowing admission of a deposition of an expert witness who testified generally to issues of delayed reporting of child sexual abuse and family dynamics, patterns and effects of such abuse. Lynds, 158 Vt. at 42, 605 A.2d at 504. The witness had never met the victim. The State's evidence consisted of the testimony of the victim, who described in detail regular sexual abuse by defendant over a four-year period, and the deposition of the expert witness. The defendant testified that the alleged conduct had not occurred, and his testimony was supported by three of the victim's brothers, who testified that they had not observed the abuse although they lived in the same house as defendant and the victim and the house lacked privacy. Observing that "the trial was a credibility contest between the defendant and the victim with the defendant having the advantages of the presumption of innocence, the State's high burden of proof and the supporting testimony," we concluded that the error was not harmless. Id. at 43-44, 605 A.2d at 503.