Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs July 25, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Hawkins County No. CC-15-CR-77
John F. Dugger, Jr., Judge
Defendant, Daniel Stephen Collins, was convicted by a Hawkins
County jury of the aggravated sexual battery of his
eight-year-old daughter, a Class B felony, and was sentenced
by the trial court to nine years at 100% in the Department of
Correction. The Defendant raises three issues on appeal: (1)
whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain his
conviction; (2) whether the trial court erred by not
qualifying the victim as a competent witness and by allowing
the prosecutor to lead her testimony; and (3) whether the
presentment was constitutionally defective because it failed
to charge the crime for which he was convicted. Following our
review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
D. Parker, Jr. (on appeal and at trial) and Steven C. Frazier
(at trial), Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Daniel
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Dan E. Armstrong, District
Attorney General; and Ryan Blackwell and Cecil C. Mills, Jr.,
Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State
E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
E. GLENN, JUDGE
December 22, 2014, the victim, the eight-year-old biological
daughter of the Defendant, reported to her mother that the
Defendant had pulled her pants down and "tickled"
her "private" earlier that day while the
victim's mother was at work. The next day, the
victim's mother took the victim to the hospital, where
she was examined by a physician and interviewed by an
investigator with the Department of Children's Services
("DCS"). The Hawkins County Grand Jury subsequently
returned a presentment charging the Defendant with the
aggravated sexual battery of the victim.
Defendant's June 23, 2016 trial, the victim's mother
testified that she and the Defendant had been married for ten
years and had one child together, the victim, before their
divorce became final in November 2015. On December 22, 2014,
she and the Defendant were still married and lived together
with the victim in a home in Church Hill. The victim, who was
in the third grade at that time, was home for Christmas
break, and the Defendant, who worked the 3:00 to 11:00 p.m.
shift at Cooper Standard, kept the victim from the time the
victim's mother left for her 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job
until he dropped her off at the home of her maternal
grandparents between 2:00 and 2:30 p.m.
victim's mother testified that when she left work that
day, she went directly to her uncle's funeral, where she
met her parents and the victim. Afterwards, she took the
victim home, and they changed into their pajamas and sat down
to watch television together. Not long after they sat down,
the victim told her that she needed to tell her something.
When the victim's mother muted the television and asked
the victim what she needed to tell her, the victim said that
"earlier that day that [the Defendant] had touched her
private parts." The victim then stood up and
demonstrated to her mother how she had been trying to hold
her pants up while the Defendant was trying to pull them
down. The victim said that the Defendant finally got her
pants down to her mid-thigh, and she showed her mother
exactly where the Defendant had touched her.
victim's mother testified that she thanked the victim for
telling her and told her that she would speak with the
Defendant. She then watched a little more television with the
victim, put the victim to bed, and waited for the Defendant
to return home. As soon as he came into the bedroom after
arriving home from work, she told him that she needed to talk
to him and said that the victim had told her that he touched
her "private parts." The Defendant
"immediately got defensive and started hollering"
that the victim was a liar. She told him to be quiet because
the victim was in bed and after about five minutes he stopped
talking, prepared for bed, and then got into bed. She
eventually lay down in bed with him, but she did not sleep.
After another thirty minutes to an hour, the Defendant got up
and took a shower before returning to bed.
victim's mother testified that the Defendant got up once
during the night to get a drink from the kitchen and that she
followed him to make sure he did not go into the victim's
bedroom. The next morning, she took the victim with her to
work. That evening, she took the victim to the emergency
room, where law enforcement and DCS were notified. She and
the victim moved in with her parents that night, and they
never again lived with the Defendant.
cross-examination, the victim's mother agreed that the
victim referred to the Defendant as having
"tickled" her "private parts."
ten-year-old victim testified that on the last day that she
lived with the Defendant she was sitting on the couch
watching television in her pajamas when the Defendant sat
down beside her, pulled down her pajama pants to her ankles,
pulled down her underwear, and tickled her
"private" for about five minutes while her face was
buried in the couch. She denied that she tickled the
Defendant or that they were playing together at the time.
After the Defendant stopped, she pulled up her pajama pants
and underwear and got dressed in preparation for going to her
victim testified that after she had changed into a tee shirt
and shorts, she went to the Defendant's room to see if he
was ready to leave. At that point, the Defendant "did it
again, " pulling down her shorts and underwear and
"tickl[ing]" her front "lower private."
She asked him to stop, and he did after five minutes. The
victim said that during the drive to her grandmother's
house, the Defendant asked her not to tell her grandmother or
her mother what had happened.
victim testified that she did not tell her grandmother, but
that night while the Defendant was gone, she told her mother
that the Defendant had tickled her "private." She
also showed her mother what the Defendant had done by
"act[ing] it out, but without pulling [her] pants down
or anything." The next morning, she accompanied her
mother to her mother's workplace. Before leaving the
house, she went into the Defendant's bedroom, where the
Defendant was lying in bed with his eyes closed, and told him
that she was sorry. She did not know if he was awake during
her apology. The victim explained that she said she was sorry
because she "felt guilty." She testified that she
later went to the hospital, where she related what had
happened to a detective and the medical staff.
request of the prosecutor, the victim circled on an
anatomical drawing the portion of her body that the Defendant
had touched. The drawing, on which the victim had ...