Argued November 19, 2015
Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of Danbury, Pavia, J.
Naomi T. Fetterman, with whom was Aaron J. Romano, for the appellant (defendant).
Brett R. Aiello, special deputy assistant state’s attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Stephen J. Sedensky III, state’s attorney, and Sharmese L. Hodge, assistant state’s attorney, for the appellee (state).
Lavine, Sheldon and Mullins, Js.
The defendant, Carlos C., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a trial to the court, of one count of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70, and two counts of risk of injury to a child, one pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-21 (a) (1) and one pursuant to § 53a-21 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims (1) that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction, and (2) that the court violated his rights to a fair trial and to confrontation when it permitted the guardian ad litem to sit near the victim while the victim testified. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
The trial court was presented with the following evidence during the defendant’s criminal trial. The victim was born in 1996. In 2005, the victim’s mother met and began dating the defendant. In 2006, the victim’s mother moved into the defendant’s home along with the victim and the victim’s younger brother. In 2007, the victim’s mother married the defendant.
Initially, the victim got along well with the defendant, but, after they moved into the defendant’s home, the defendant began touching the victim inappropriately. The defendant would rub her thighs or slap her buttocks, and, when the victim would protest, he would offer her money and tell her not to say anything to anyone. The victim began to notice that, although she went to bed with clothing on, when she awoke in the morning, she often was not wearing any clothing. She soon realized that the defendant was entering her bedroom in the early hours of the morning, after her mother had left the home to deliver newspapers after 1 a.m.
Around this time, the defendant’s sexual assaults escalated. He engaged in penile-vaginal intercourse with the victim on several occasions, causing the victim to experience pain, and to bleed on one occasion. During these assaults, the defendant removed his pants but kept on his shirt. He also told the victim to be quiet, and he threatened to throw her family out of his home if she told anyone about his assaults.
At some point during the 2006–2007 school year, the victim moved into the home of her father, while her mother and her younger brother remained in the home of the defendant. The defendant occasionally would pick up the victim to bring her to his home to see her mother. During these rides, he would inappropriately touch the victim on her thighs and buttocks.
In 2012, the victim disclosed this abuse to her boyfriend, who encouraged her to tell someone. On April 7, 2012, the victim disclosed the abuse to her father, who immediately took her to the police station to file a report. The defendant later was arrested and charged with one count of sexual assault in the first degree and two counts of risk of injury to a child.
The defendant elected to be tried by the court. Following the trial, the court found the victim to be credible, specifically stating: ‘‘[T]he court . . . heard the testimony of the complainant . . . [who] was on the stand for almost . . . a full . . . a complete day of testimony. She testified . . . consistently throughout the course of the day. She never wavered in her allegations with regard to what happened. She handled cross-examination and various questions that came at her, again, without changing her story or her consistency.’’
The court also found that the victim ‘‘specifically [had] alleged that there was sexual intercourse by way of vaginal intercourse [that] took place. That there was penetration in that the defendant penetrated by way of his penis her vagina, that there was vaginal intercourse beyond just the touching as part of the risk of injury counts with regard to sexual intercourse [and the court] want[ed] to make it clear that that evidence was absolutely on the record and that [the] court credit[ed] her account of the vaginal intercourse as she [had] described it ...