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Caldwell v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

August 3, 2018

BRUCE CALDWELL APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM CHRISTIAN CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE ANDREW C. SELF, JUDGE ACTION NO. 15-CR-00473

          BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: Erin Hoffman Yang Frankfort, Kentucky

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

          BEFORE: DIXON, JOHNSON, AND TAYLOR, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          JOHNSON, JUDGE:

         Bruce Caldwell brings this appeal from a judgment entered by the Christian Circuit Court on November 2, 2016, following a jury trial on September 12, 2016. Pursuant to the judgment Caldwell was sentenced to serve three years' imprisonment for the crime of sexual abuse, first degree.[1] After reviewing the record in conjunction with the applicable legal authorities, we affirm the Christian Circuit Court.

         BACKGROUND

         Caldwell was a long-time family friend of the victim, aged 14 years at the time of the incident. On July 31, 2015, Caldwell took the victim and her two siblings to Walmart and McDonald's and then returned to his apartment. Caldwell called the children's parents and offered to keep them for the rest of the day. The parents accepted his offer. Later in the evening, Caldwell spoke to the children's parents again and offered to keep them even longer, this time overnight. The parents again accepted his offer.

         The victim testified that later evening, she began to feel hungry and put a pizza in the oven. At this point, she stated that Caldwell commented on her beauty and how quickly she was maturing. The victim testified that Caldwell then came up behind her and put his arms around her in an unwelcome embrace, sliding his hands under her shirt and touching her breasts over her bra. The victim testified that this lasted for a minute or two before she told Caldwell she wanted to go to bed. At that point she said Caldwell pushed her up against the wall and started kissing her neck when she began yelling and screaming for him to stop.

         The victim testified that she was eventually able to extricate herself from Caldwell in the kitchen and retreated into the bedroom with her siblings. She held the younger children tightly and pretended to be asleep. She then heard Caldwell enter the room but continued to feign sleep. Caldwell left the room.

         The next day, the victim told her parents about the assault. The victim's father confronted Caldwell with the allegations. Father testified that Caldwell denied touching the victim in a sexual manner but insisted all he did was give her a back rub. Caldwell, however, did acknowledge to the father that he "messed up" and wished it had not happened.

         Caldwell was subsequently arrested, tried and convicted of sexual abuse, first degree, pursuant to KRS 510.110(1)(d) being found to be a "person in a position of authority or position of special trust, as defined in KRS 532.045[.]" On appeal, Caldwell contends that there was no evidence in the record to support the finding that he was in a position of special trust with the victim. He argues that his conviction for sexual abuse, first degree violated his due process rights when the trial court refused to grant his motion for a directed verdict.

         This appeal follows.

         STANDARD ...


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