Samuel Clark v. Commonwealth

In Samuel Clark v. Commonwealth, 30 Va. App. 406, 517 S.E.2d 260 (1999), the victim's father was convicted of aggravated sexual battery ( Code 18.2-67.3) and object sexual penetration ( Code 18.2-67.2) of his daughter. The Court held that force and intimidation were proven in that case where the father would lie on top of his daughter and continuously molest her from age five through her teens. Because the molestation took place so often and for so long, the victim did not realize the conduct was improper until she learned about sexual abuse in school. The victim did not confide in anyone or confront her father because her father was her caregiver, he was in poor health and she feared that other members of her family would reject her if she accused him. The evidence showed that the victim felt isolated, with no frame of reference for proper parental conduct due to the life-long duration of the abuse. This long-term course of conduct, combined with a finding of actual force, amounted to emotional domination sufficient to constitute intimidation. We noted that the parental relationship in Samuel Clark was a "highly relevant circumstance," but it was not the sole factor relied on to prove intimidation. In conjunction with "more force than that required to accomplish the unlawful touching . . . the paternal bond, along with the victim's age and relative isolation from others, impeded her ability to resist her father. She was vulnerable and susceptible to pressure from her father." Samuel Clark, 30 Va. App. at 411, 517 S.E.2d at 262.