State v. Lopez (1999)

In State v. Lopez, 95 Wn. App. 842, 980 P.2d 224 (1999), a father was convicted of molesting and raping three of his five children. At trial, a social worker identified as a forensic interviewer for sexually abused children was allowed to testify concerning statements made to her by the children. The statements were admitted under the medical diagnosis and treatment exception to the hearsay rule. The State conceded the interviews conducted by the social worker were not for the purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment; rather, the interviews were conducted for purely forensic purposes. The State showed no relationship between the statements and diagnosis or treatment and ultimately conceded that the social worker "was hired solely to interview the children to determine the existence and extent of sexual abuse for trial purposes." Id., 95 Wn. App. at 850, 980 P.2d at 228. The defendant appealed, alleging the court erred. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held the statements lacked the indicia of reliability required for admission under this exception. However, the conviction was affirmed because the statements were properly admitted under the child abuse hearsay statute.