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Camacho v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

June 1, 2018



          BRIEFS FOR APPELLANT: Karen Shuff Maurer Frankfort, Kentucky

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Andy Beshear Attorney General of Kentucky Gregory C. Fuchs Assistant Attorney General Frankfort, Kentucky



          JONES, JUDGE.

         The Appellant, Jorge Camacho, was found guilty of three counts of first degree sexual abuse, victim under twelve years of age, by a Scott County jury. Following the jury's guilty verdict, the Scott Circuit Court sentenced Camacho to eighteen years of imprisonment. On appeal, Camacho asserts that the trial court erred when it denied his motion for a directed verdict. Alternatively, Camacho argues that he was denied his right to present a defense when the trial court refused to allow him to question one of the victims about her claim that her uncle subjected her to the same type of sexual abuse she accused Camacho of committing against her. After reviewing the record in conjunction with the applicable legal authorities, we affirm.

         I. Background

         At the time these allegations arose, Camacho was living in a small trailer in Stamping Ground, Kentucky, in Scott County. The other individuals residing in the trailer were: Camacho's girlfriend, Karen Collins; Karen's son, Chuck Collins; Chuck's girlfriend, Patty Burton; Patty's children from a prior relationship, A.R. and M.T. (both fourteen years old at the time of trial); and Chuck's children from a prior relationship, C.C. (twelve years old at the time of trial) and A.M. (ten years old at the time of trial).

         On April 15, 2013, the four children informed Chuck and Patty that Camacho, whom they called "Papaw George, " had been touching them inappropriately. Patty Burton testified that they told the children if they were lying they would get in trouble and would be sent to juvenile detention. The children did not change their stories.

         The following day Patty and Chuck took the children to the police station. Karen and Camacho also went to the police station around the same time. Detective Rodger Persley of the Scott County Sheriff's Office investigated the children's allegations. Kelly Shores with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services was present and set up a plan to ensure Camacho was not in the home with the children. Detective Persley set up interviews with the children at the Child Advocacy Center for April 24 and 26, 2013. Camacho cooperated with law enforcement throughout the investigation.

         Ultimately, Camacho was indicted on four counts of sexual abuse, one for each girl, for abuse occurring over an extended period between 2011 and 2013.[1]Prior to trial, Camacho filed a motion in limine to admit statements made by M.T. regarding prior sexual abuse under KRE[2] 412(b)(1)(C). The trial court held a hearing on November 10, 2016, and later issued a ruling denying Camacho's motion.

         At trial, A.M., C.C., and M.T. testified as to the inappropriate touching that occurred between 2011 and 2013.[3] Each of them told the jury Camacho "humped" them or would pull their hips back to his pelvic area while in the pool or in the barn playing darts. They also testified that similar incidents would occur while watching movies in Camacho's bedroom and on the porch. On cross-examination of each of the victims, Camacho repeatedly pointed to contradictory statements made during the interviews at the Child Advocacy Center.

         In addition to the above-stated testimony, A.M. testified about an incident where Camacho sat her on a counter in the barn, took off her shirt and pants, and left her in just her bathing suit. She also testified that he told her to keep it a secret when these incidents occurred.

         C.C. testified Camacho "humped" her while she was watching television in the living room and he was in a push-up position when this occurred. She testified that she saw Camacho do these things to M.T. more than to her. She also stated that Camacho would give them candy bars and she had found a book in the barn with different sexual positions depicted in it.

         M.T. testified that sometimes these incidents would involve skin-on-skin contact, where Camacho would unzip his pants and would pull her pants down. She testified that he kissed her on the mouth, that he grabbed her breasts, and that he touched her vagina. She testified that skin-on-skin contact would only happen at night or when no one else was home because he did not want to get caught. M.T. said Camacho would use this plastic on his penis, which she later said might have been a condom, and a sticky spray (assumed to be some type of lubricant), and she would have to use her mouth, hands, and butt on his penis until "liquid came out." She stated Camacho would do similar things to C.C. (though C.C. denied that any skin-on-skin contact occurred), and he would give them candy bars and soda. M.T. testified that she too had seen the book with sexual positions depicted in it.

         At the close of the Commonwealth's case, Camacho moved for a directed verdict as to all counts. The trial court denied the motion. The defense did not put on any evidence. After deliberating, the jury returned a guilty verdict on all three counts of first-degree sexual abuse. During the sentencing phase, Steve Maynard, Camacho's previous employer, testified as to the good character of Camacho. The jury recommended that Camacho be incarcerated for eight years regarding M.T. and five years each regarding A.M. and C.C., to run consecutively for a total of eighteen years. The trial court sentenced Camacho accordingly. On November 22, ...

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