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State v. Clemons

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 17, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
LARRY DOUGLAS CLEMONS

Assigned on Briefs December 09, 2014

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Smith County Nos. 12CR213, 12CR236, 12CR302 John D. Wootten, Jr., Judge

Comer L. Donnel, District Public Defender; William Cather and Michael W. Taylor, Assistant District Public Defenders, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Larry Douglas Clemons.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; Tom Swink and Howard Chambers, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Thomas T. Woodall, P. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

OPINION

THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE

Background

Defendant's case initially went to trial, and during the testimony of the State's first witness, Special Agent Joshua Savley of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Defendant decided to plead guilty to all charges. Special Agent Savley's testimony prior to the guilty plea was in reference to Counts 1 through 5 in Case No. 12-CR-213. Special Agent Savley testified that he was assigned to investigate the allegations in the present case. He interviewed Defendant on August 2, 2012, and a search warrant was executed at Defendant's residence. Defendant waived his rights and gave a written statement. Special Agent Savley spoke with Defendant a second time the following day. Defendant again waived his rights and gave a statement.

In his statements, Defendant admitted to speaking with the fifteen-year-old victim, who was his step-granddaughter, about sex. He arranged for and transported her to have several sexual encounters with men in various locations, including Carthage, Tennessee, Lebanon, Tennessee, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Tunica, Mississippi between January of 2010 and August of 2012. Defendant admitted that he received pictures of the victim having sex with some of the men, and he also received pictures of the victim's breasts and vagina from some of the men. Defendant saved the pictures and shared them with others through emails and texts for the purpose of arranging future sexual encounters with the victim. Defendant told Special Agent Savley that he had contacted Winnie Hunt about arranging for the victim to have sex with some Mexican men. He sent pictures of the victim having sex to Ms. Hunt, and he also sent pictures of the victim's genitalia to her. Defendant and Ms. Hunt then discussed an arranged payment of $300 for the sexual encounter. Defendant explained that Ms. Hunt would receive $100, and he and the victim would split the remaining $200. Defendant also admitted to attempting to arrange additional sexual encounters between the victim and other men.

Special Agent Savley testified that Winnie Hunt later worked as a confidential informant. She placed phone calls to Defendant that were recorded, and she wore a "wire" during a meeting with Defendant in which they discussed arranging for the victim to have sex with men. Defendant's statements during the meeting were recorded. Special Agent Savley testified that during the search of Defendant's home, a notebook was found containing notes that Defendant wrote concerning the victim's sexual encounters with adult men. Special Agent Savley also obtained hotels records showing the dates and charges corresponding to hotel rooms obtained by Defendant. Files and messages were retrieved from Defendant's computer as well as his cell phone and email account. Special Agent Savley read sexually explicit emails into the record from Defendant to various men concerning sexual encounters with the victim.

The following is a brief summary of the facts supporting each count of the indictments which were read into the record by the prosecutor at the guilty plea submission hearing. In Case No. 2012-CR-213, Counts 1-4 (trafficking a minor for sexual servitude), Defendant offered the fifteen-year-old victim for various sex acts to men he contacted on the internet. He made hotel arrangements for these encounters and transported the victim to the hotel rooms. Defendant also gave the men explicit and graphic instructions for engaging in sex acts with the victim, and he encouraged the men to supply the victim with alcoholic beverages. For Count 5 (attempted trafficking a minor for sexual servitude), Defendant attempted to arrange for a sexual encounter between the victim and another man as described in the first four counts. Counts 7-14 (aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor), involved the distribution by Defendant of eight separate sexually explicit photographs of the victim to various people on the internet. In support of Counts 15-19 of the indictment in Case No. 2012-CR-213 (aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor), Defendant distributed five images of child pornography involving the victim to Winnie Hunt. A conversation between Ms. Hunt and Defendant was recorded to corroborate the five counts. In Counts 20-25 (sexual exploitation of a minor), Defendant possessed six photographs of the victim engaged in sex acts or of her exposed body.

In Case No. 2012-CR-236 Defendant was charged with one count of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. This involved the distribution by Defendant of a picture of the victim's vagina to Winnie Hunt.

Finally, in Case No. 2012-CR-302, Counts 1-2 (trafficking a minor for sexual servitude), Defendant on one occasion transported the victim and Wesley Jones, an adult male, to Tunica, Mississippi for the purpose of sex. On a separate occasion, Defendant transported the victim and Ryan Lewis, another adult male, to a shop in Lewis County for the purpose of sex. In Counts 3-7 (Statutory Rape), Defendant was criminally responsible for five separate penetrations of the victim by Jonathan Mungle, and the sexual encounters were arranged by Defendant.

Defendant listened to all of the facts read into the record by the prosecutor and agreed that they were accurate and that all of the events took place.

At the sentencing hearing James Leach, an employee of the Tennessee Department of Correction, Probation and Parole, testified that Defendant did not wish to make a statement concerning his version of the facts for the presentence report. A victim impact statement was included in the report. Mr. Leach noted that Defendant had no prior convictions; however, he had pending charges in Wilson County related to the present case.

Mr. Leach testified that a psychosexual report was prepared on Defendant, and it reflected that Defendant was in a medium to high risk to reoffend. On cross-examination, Mr. Leach agreed that it was recommended that Defendant continue sex offender treatment that should reduce the likelihood of Defendant reoffending.

The victim impact statement contains the following:
I cannot say I had physical injuries, but I do know that sex with some of these men was very painful. Luckily I was not infected with any kind of STD.
I feel like this has done a lot of emotional harm. I went to counseling for a year. Having him out of my life is a big help. I wonder if I will ever be able to ...

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