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State v. Estrella J.C.

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

October 18, 2016

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
ESTRELLA J.C.[*]

          Argued May 17, 2016

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of New Haven, geographical area number twenty-three, B. Fischer, J.

          Alice Osedach, senior assistant public defender, for the appellant (defendant).

          Ronald G. Weller, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Michael Dearington, state's attorney, and Laura DeLeo, senior assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          Keller, Mullins and Norcott, Js.

          OPINION

          KELLER, J.

         The defendant, Estrella J.C., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2) and one count of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court committed reversible error by (1) admitting into evidence a video recording of a forensic interview between a clinical social worker and the victim, (2) imposing an illegal sentence, and (3) admitting harmful uncharged misconduct evidence. We affirm the judgment of conviction.

         The jury reasonably could have found the following facts. The victim was born on October 24, 2000, and the defendant is his biological mother. The defendant met the victim's father, F, approximately one and one-half years before the victim was born. In 2005, the defendant gave birth to the victim's sister, B, whose father is also F. From 2000 to 2005, the defendant and F maintained an ‘‘on again, off again'' relationship, but they did not live together, and they never married. In 2005, when the victim was five years old, he maintained a permanent residence with the defendant at her home in New Haven. The victim eventually began residing with F at his home in East Haven as well, but he still would spend certain nights and days with the defendant at her New Haven home.

         During this time, on more than five occasions, the defendant pulled down the victim's pants and underpants, and touched the victim's penis with her hands or her mouth. The first time that one of these incidents happened was when the victim was between seven and eight years old.

         On one such occasion, the victim and the defendant were in the defendant's bedroom. The victim was partially asleep, but he awoke when he felt and saw the defendant ‘‘squishing'' his penis while she was on top of him. While this occurred, the victim kept one eye open, but he eventually opened both eyes so that the defendant could tell that he was awake. After realizing that the victim was awake, the defendant told the victim that she was checking his penis to see if it was healthy. On another such occasion, the defendant also touched the victim's penis with her mouth.[1] On another one of these occasions, the victim walked by the defendant's bedroom while she was naked in her bed. The door was open, and she told the victim to come inside. The victim refused to come into the room and he ran to the garage. The defendant then found the victim hiding in the garage. She hit him on his arm and forced him to go back into her bedroom and remove his clothing. The defendant then ‘‘squished'' the victim's penis with her hands and put her mouth on it as well.

         Also during this time period, while the victim was residing with the defendant at her New Haven home, the defendant, on at least two occasions, forced the victim to watch pornographic movies. The defendant also threatened the victim by telling him that she would hit him if he refused to watch the movies.

         On at least several other occasions during this time period, while the victim was seven years old, and on another occasion when the victim was eight years old, he and the defendant were alone in the living room at her New Haven home when the defendant forced the victim to touch her breasts for approximately five to ten minutes. The defendant also threatened the victim by telling him that if he refused to touch her breasts, she would ‘‘hit him hard.''

         On at least several other occasions when the victim was eight years old, while the victim and B were sleeping in the defendant's bedroom, the victim awoke to find the defendant having sexual intercourse with her boyfriend, N, in the same bed in which the victim and B were sleeping. Also on this occasion, the defendant and N were watching a pornographic movie while they engaged in sexual intercourse. On another occasion, the victim found several pornographic videos and photographs on the defendant's computer. When the defendant discovered that he had found the materials, she told him that if he told anyone about his discovery, she would harm F and kill the victim's stepmother, C. Furthermore, on another occasion, while the victim was in the car with the defendant and the victim's aunt, the victim overheard the defendant say that she was going to kill F and C.

         On another occasion, when the victim was eight or nine years old, the defendant forced the victim to take a shower with her. During this incident, the defendant forced the victim to touch her breasts, and told him that if he refused, she would hit him.

         The victim eventually began living with F and C at F's home in East Haven. The victim's and B's visitations with the defendant at her home terminated in the summer of2009, but they resumed at some point in late 2009.

         After the commencement of these incidents, the victim began having nightmares, and F frequently observed that the victim was ‘‘changed'' when he returned to F's home after visiting with the defendant. The victim also began misbehaving in school, particularly in the spring of 2010. Specifically, the victim stole items from others at school, and he fought with other students. On one such occasion during this time period, the victim stole an iPod from a teacher, and, after being apprehended, he subsequently was suspended from school and was placed in a disciplinary program.

         On one day in April, 2010, the victim came home from school crying. C asked the victim why he was crying and if he had misbehaved at school. In response, the victim told C that the defendant had touched his penis. C comforted the victim and called F, telling him that the victim needed to talk to him about something when he returned home from work. Later that night, F came home from work, and the victim told him that the defendant had touched his penis and threatened him on numerous occasions while he had been residing at her home in New Haven.

         Shortly after the victim told F about the defendant's actions toward the victim, F, on that same night, placed telephone calls to the police and the Department of Children and Families (department) to report the incidents that had occurred between the defendant and the victim. When F called the department on that night, however, there was no answer on the telephone, so, on the next day, F went to the Clifford Beers clinic (Clifford Beers) in New Haven and scheduled an appointment for the victim to see a psychologist there on the following day. On the date of the scheduled appointment, the victim went to Clifford Beers with F and C. During this visit, F and C gave permission for several professionals at Clifford Beers to interview and provide therapy to the victim in connection with the incidents that he had reported involving the defendant's actions toward him. Dr. Alyson Brodhagen, a clinical psychologist at Clifford Beers, diagnosed the victim with post-traumatic stress disorder. After this initial meeting, which occurred in April, 2010, the victim continued to participate in therapy consultations with professionals at Clifford Beers until the commencement of the defendant's trial in 2012.

         On May 3, 2010, after having visited Clifford Beers, the victim met with Theresa A. Montelli, a licensed clinical social worker employed by Yale-New Haven Hospital as a forensic interviewer for the Yale Child Sexual Abuse Clinic (Yale clinic). During this interview, the victim discussed the incidents that had occurred between the defendant and himself. Specifically, during this interview, the victim pointed out on anatomical diagrams and dolls where the defendant had touched him, and he conveyed some of the details about these incidents to Montelli. This interview was recorded on video, and, while it was occurring, it was observed by a department employee, another forensic interviewer from the Yale clinic, and a New Haven Police Department detective, who observed the interview from a separate room on a closed circuit television screen.

         Several days later, on May 7, 2010, the victim met with Janet Murphy, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Yale clinic, for a medical evaluation.[2] Although Murphy did not observe the forensic interview that Montelli conducted, she met with Montelli after the interview and learned about the victim's history, the circumstances surrounding his relationship with his family, and ‘‘the relevant details'' for the medical evaluation.

         Additionally, before conducting the medical evaluation of the victim, Murphy met with C to obtain any further necessary health information about the victim.[3] Murphy then completed a full physical examination of the victim.

         In June, 2010, the victim also began meeting with Dr. Ragne Pajo Adams, a psychologist at Clifford Beers, for outpatient therapy sessions. At some point after August, 2010, the victim also saw a psychiatrist, Dr. Thomas Prakash, who diagnosed him with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, for which he also was treated.

         On the basis of the victim's disclosures made during his interview with, inter alia, the professionals working at the Yale clinic, as well as the victim's disclosures to the professionals working at Clifford Beers, Detective William White, Jr., of the New Haven Police Department prepared an arrest warrant for the defendant and she was arrested. The state charged the defendant with two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of § 53-21 (a) (2), and a third count of risk of injury to a child in violation of § 53-21 (a) (1).[4] After a trial in May, 2012, the jury found the defendant guilty on all counts. The court, B. Fischer, J., on October 2, 2013, sentenced the defendant, on each of the two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of § 53-21 (a) (2), to twelve years of imprisonment, execution suspended after the service of eight years, five years of which was a mandatory minimum sentence, followed by ten years of probation. On the third count of risk of injury to a child in violation of § 53-21 (a) (1), the defendant was sentenced to a period of ten years imprisonment, execution suspended after eight years, and five years probation. All sentences were to run concurrently. The total effective sentence was twelve years imprisonment, suspended after the service of eight years, with ten years probation. This appeal followed. Additional facts will be set forth as necessary.

         I

         We first address the defendant's claim that the court committed reversible error by admitting into evidence, under the medical diagnosis and treatment exception to the hearsay rule, the video recording of the forensic interview between Montelli and the victim. The defendant argues that the state had not met its burden of showing that the essential purpose of the interview was to further the victim's medical treatment. The following additional facts and procedural history are relevant to this claim. Prior to the commencement of the defendant's criminal trial, the state, pursuant to General Statutes § 54-86g and State v. Jarzbek, 204 Conn. 683, 529 A.2d 1245 (1987), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1061, 108 S.Ct. 1017, 98 L.Ed.2d 982 (1988), filed a motion seeking to elicit the victim's trial testimony outside of the presence of the defendant through the use of a video recording. After the court, Fasano, J., held a hearing on October 26, 2011, it granted the state's motion in an oral decision issued on October 31, 2011, concluding that ‘‘the state ha[d] established a compelling need for the [victim] to testify outside the presence of the defendant . . . by clear and convincing evidence in that the [victim] would be so intimidated or otherwise inhibited by the . . . physical presence of the defendant that the trustworthiness or reliability of the [victim's] testimony would be seriously called into question.''

         On March 2, 2012, pursuant to the court's ruling on the state's Jarzbek motion, the victim testified under oath at Southern Connecticut State University in front of the court, B. Fischer, J., two state's attorneys, trial counsel for the defendant, two interpreters, the victim's guardian ad litem, a temporary assistant clerk, and a certified court reporter. In addition to being subject to direct examination by the prosecutor who tried the defendant's criminal case, the victim was subjected to cross-examination by the defendant's trial counsel. The victim's testimony was videotaped and reproduced in a video recording. During the hearing, the state questioned the victim about, inter alia, the forensic interview that he participated in at the Yale clinic with Montelli.

         On May 4, 2012, after the conclusion of jury voir dire proceedings and outside the presence of all potential jurors, the state indicated its intent to introduce into evidence the video recording of the victim's forensic interview with Montelli. Defense counsel objected to the state's offer of the video recording of the forensic interview, arguing that it should not be admitted into evidence because (1) defense counsel was not present at the interview and the confrontation clause of the sixth amendment to the United States constitution accordingly would prohibit the introduction of such evidence, and (2) Montelli brought up the subject of the defendant's drinking habits during the interview, which defense counsel argued was highly prejudicial and of little probative value. In response, the state argued that ‘‘it [was] the state's intention with respect to the contents contained in the video to establish that the questions and answers were for the purpose of mental treatment.'' The state also argued that its ‘‘response to the video being used versus the witness [Montelli] simply testifying as to the questions and the answers, and the information elicited simply is that [the video is] the best evidence that exists of what actually transpired.'' Furthermore, the state argued that the video recording of the forensic interview was the best evidence that existed because it was ‘‘better than [Mon-telli] trying to articulate [the victim's] nonverbal response and what [Montelli observed, given that] she would be anticipated to testify that the video . . . is a fair and accurate representation of what actually transpired.'' Finally, the state argued that the video recording of the forensic interview was relevant and was ‘‘not prohibited hearsay by virtue of the fact that the information elicited was for the purpose of treatment.''[5]

         On May 7, 2012, the first day of the defendant's trial, the court, after allowing both sides to argue further on the issue and clarifying that the defendant's objection included a claim that the medical diagnosis and treatment exception did not permit either the video recording or Montelli's testimony to be admitted, [6] ruled that the video recording of the forensic interview with Montelli and her testimony were both admissible. With respect to the video recording of the forensic interview, the court first referred to the text of § 8-3 (5) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence, which provides in relevant part: ‘‘The following are not excluded by the hearsay rule, even though the declarant is available as a witness . . . (5) A statement made for purposes of obtaining a medical diagnosis or treatment and describing medical history, or past or present symptoms, pain, or sensations, or the inception or general character of the cause or external source thereof, insofar as reasonably pertinent to the medical diagnosis or treatment.''

         Thereafter, the court stated in relevant part: ‘‘And . . . our case law has expanded it from doctors to other medical professionals, including social workers, who are acting in the chain of medical diagnosis. In the case of [State v. Cruz, 260 Conn. 1, 792 A.2d 823 (2002)] the victim was interviewed by a social worker at the hospital. The court held that . . . the medical treatment exception to the hearsay rule applies to statements made by asexual assault victim to asocial worker who is acting within a chain of medical care as long as those statements are made for the purpose of obtaining medical diagnosis or treatment and are pertinent to the diagnosis or treatments . . . . So, I think . . . [§ 8-3 (5) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence] applies and I will allow the forensic interview as evidence here.''

         On the next day of trial, the state presented the testimony of Montelli on the witness stand, and during her testimony, the state offered the video recording of the forensic interview, which it then played in front of the jury.

         On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred by admitting the video recording of the forensic interview because it contained hearsay and it was not shown to have been carried out for the purpose of medical treatment. In opposition, the state argues that the court did not abuse its discretion by admitting into evidence the video recording of the forensic interview because the state presented sufficient evidence at trial that the primary purpose of the interview was for medical treatment, which allowed its admission under the medical diagnosis and treatment hearsay exception. Alternatively, the state argues that any error was harmless to the defendant. We agree with the state that the court did not abuse its discretion by admitting into evidence the video recording of the forensic interview.

         We begin our analysis of this claim with the appropriate standard of review. ‘‘To the extent [that] a trial court's admission of evidence is based on an interpretation of the Code of Evidence, our standard of review is plenary. For example, whether a challenged statement properly may be classified as hearsay and whether a hearsay exception properly is identified are legal questions demanding plenary review. . . . We review the trial court's decision to admit evidence, if premised on a correct view of the law, however, for an abuse of discretion. . . . In other words, only after a trial court has made the legal determination that a particular statement is or is not hearsay, or is subject to a hearsay exception, is it vested with the discretion to admit or to bar the evidence based upon relevancy, prejudice, or other legally appropriate grounds related to the rule of evidence under which admission is being sought.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Griswold, 160 Conn.App. 528, 536, 127 A.3d 189, cert. denied, 320 Conn. 907, 128 A.3d 952 (2015).

         At the outset of our analysis, we note that the defendant argues that the court, by admitting the video recording of the victim's forensic interview with Mon-telli, violated her sixth amendment right to confront witnesses against her pursuant to Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 68-69, 124 S.Ct. 1354, 158 L.Ed.2d 177 (2004), because the statements made by the victim during that interview were testimonial in nature. With respect to this claim, which is distinct from her evidentiary claim related to the admissibility of the video recording, she relies on State v. Maguire, 310 Conn. 535, 78 A.3d 828 (2013), and contends that the court erred in admitting the video recording under the medical treatment exception to the hearsay rule without first finding that the forensic interview was not testimonial in nature. The defendant argues that the interrogation conducted by Montelli was intended primarily to further the criminal investigation and preparation for her prosecution, and not to provide medical assistance to the victim. In so arguing, she relies on the principle that ‘‘statements taken by government actors who are not members of law enforcement are testimonial if the interview is the functional equivalent of police interrogation with the primary purpose of establishing or proving past events potentially relevant to later criminal prosecution.'' State v. Arroyo, 284 Conn. 597, 629, 935 A.2d 975 (2007).

         The state argues that because the victim was available and was subject to cross-examination at trial, there was no constitutional violation. Moreover, the state claims the defendant's reliance on Maguire is misplaced because that case involved similar evidence admitted under the tender years exception to the hearsay rule, rather than the medical treatment exception. Finally, the state asserts that any error was harmless because the statements made during the forensic interview were cumulative of other properly admitted and unchallenged evidence.

         Recently, in State v. Griswold, supra, 160 Conn.App. 550, this court held that there was no error in the admission of video recordings of the forensic interviews of two victims, as well as the summaries of such interviews, under the medical diagnosis and treatment exception. The defendant in that case argued that if the video recordings and summaries were not admissible under the tender years exception as a result of the holding in Maguire, then they likewise were inadmissible under the medical diagnosis and treatment exception. We began our analysis in Griswold by first clarifying the important point that, because the victims appeared at trial and were subject to cross-examination by the defendant, Crawford and its progeny did not directly apply. Id., 550-51. Although the victim in the present case did not testify while he was physically in the presence of the defendant and the jury, he nevertheless testified and was cross-examined by the defendant's attorney in a trial setting pursuant to the court's ruling on the state's Jarzbek motion. A minor victim's videotaped testimony pursuant to Jarzbek procedures is the ‘‘functional equivalent of testimony in court.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Arroyo, supra, 284 Conn. 621. Accordingly, because, in the present case, the victim's testimony was elicited under circumstances which permitted the defendant's attorney to cross-examine him-which he did, in fact, do- a sixth amendment violation does not exist.

         Thus, although we concluded in Griswold that the victims' statements were testimonial in nature, we did not conclude that they were barred by the sixth amendment's confrontation clause, as Crawford would have required if the victims were unavailable to testify at trial and there had been no prior opportunity for cross-examination. Rather, we determined that the video recordings and written summaries did not satisfy one criterion set forth in the tender years exception for admissibility thereunder-a prohibition against statements made in preparation of a legal proceeding.

         We then observed, ‘‘in contrast to the tender years exception, the medical diagnosis and treatment exception to the hearsay rule contains no language expressly or implicitly importing Crawford's prohibition against testimonial hearsay. The exception provides only that statements ‘made for purposes of obtaining a medical diagnosis or treatment and describing medical history, or past or present symptoms, pain, or sensations, or the inception or general character of the cause or external source thereof, insofar as reasonably pertinent to the medical diagnosis or treatment, ' are not excluded by the hearsay rule. Conn. Code Evid. § 8-3 (5). Neither this language, nor any common-law principle that we are aware of, mandates that statements offered under the exception be non testimonial. Rather, their admissibility turns principally on whether ‘the declarant was seeking medical diagnosis or treatment, and the statements are reasonably pertinent to achieving those ends.' '' (Footnote omitted.) State v. Griswold, supra, 160 Conn.App. 552.

         Therefore, the thrust of the defendant's argument with respect to the court's admission of the videotaped recording of the forensic interview between the victim and Montelli focuses on the issue of whether the recording properly was admitted under the medical diagnosis and treatment exception to the hearsay rule. Section 8-3 of the Connecticut Code of Evidence, titled ‘‘Hearsay Exceptions: Availability of Declarant Immaterial, '' provides that twelve types of statements ‘‘are not excluded by the hearsay rule, even though the declarant is available as a witness.'' The fifth subsection of this section, titled ‘‘Statement for purposes of obtaining medical diagnosis or treatment, '' provides that the following type of statement is not inadmissible under the hearsay rule: ‘‘A statement made for purposes of obtaining a medical diagnosis or treatment and describing medical history, or past or present symptoms, pain, or sensations, or the inception or general character of the cause or external source thereof, insofar as reasonably pertinent to the medical diagnosis or treatment.'' Conn. Code Evid. § 8-3 (5). The admissibility of statements offered under the medical diagnosis and treatment exception to the hearsay rule turns on whether ‘‘the declarant was seeking medical diagnosis or treatment, and the statements are reasonably pertinent to achieving those ends.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Griswold, supra, 160 Conn.App. 552.

         This court, in State v. Griswold, supra, 160 Conn.App. 528, recently analyzed the medical diagnosis and treatment exception to the hearsay rule. In Griswold, minor victims of sexual assault recounted their recent experiences in forensic interviews conducted by members of a ‘‘multidisciplinary investigative team'' of professionals at the Greater Hartford Children's Advocacy Center (advocacy center). Id., 531. The members of the multidisciplinary investigative team consisted of a clinical child interview supervisor at the advocacy center and a clinical child interview specialist. Id. The victims, already having told their mother about the defendant's actions toward them, participated in videotaped forensic interviews, during which they again shared their recollections of the defendant's actions with the multidisciplinary investigative team at the advocacy center. Id. Before the defendant's subsequent criminal trial, the state offered as evidence the video recordings of the forensic interviews, and the defendant filed a motion in limine to preclude their admission into evidence on the grounds that they constituted hearsay and were unfairly prejudicial. Id., 532. In response, the state argued that the recordings were admissible under two exceptions to the hearsay rule, the tender years exception[7] and the medical diagnosis and treatment exception. Id. The trial court denied the defendant's motion in limine and, in doing so, concluded that the video recordings were admissible under both the tender years, and the medical diagnosis and treatment exceptions to the hearsay rule. Id., 534. On appeal, this court concluded that (1) the trial court improperly admitted the video recordings under the tender years exception because the circumstances surrounding the forensic interviews were such that an objective observer would conclude that their primary purpose was not to provide the victims with medical diagnosis or treatment, but ‘‘to [establish] or prov[e] past events potentially relevant to later criminal prosecution''; (internal quotation marks omitted); id., 547; but (2) the trial court properly admitted the video recordings under the medical diagnosis and treatment exception because the victims' statements adduced in the forensic interviews ‘‘were reasonably pertinent to obtaining medical diagnosis or treatment''; id., 557; and the professionals participating in the forensic interviews ‘‘sufficiently occupied a position within the chain of medical care, to bring the victims' statements within the scope of the medical diagnosis and treatment exception.'' Id.

         In analyzing the defendant's claim with respect to the medical diagnosis and treatment exception, this court stated the following, which we find to be instructive in the present case: ‘‘In the context of a forensic interview, [the standard for the admissibility of statements under the medical diagnosis and treatment exception] is substantially less demanding than the one imposed by Crawford and incorporated into the tender years exception. Undoubtedly, statements may be reasonably pertinent . . . to obtaining medical diagnosis or treatment even when that was not the primary purpose of the inquiry that prompted them, or the principal motivation behind their expression. See State v. Donald M., 113 Conn.App. 63, 71, 966 A.2d 266 (forensic interview statements admissible under medical diagnosis and treatment exception because the purpose of the interview was, at least in part, to determine whether the victim was in need of medical treatment [emphasis added]), cert. denied, 291 Conn. 910, 969 A.2d 174 (2009). Consequently, we anticipate that in most circumstances, the task of demonstrating that a statement made during a forensic interview satisfies the medical diagnosis and treatment exception will be less onerous than establishing that it is admissible under the tender years exception.

         ‘‘Having concluded that the applicability of the medical diagnosis and treatment exception to the hearsay rule must be determined on its own merits, we set forth the relevant legal principles that guide our resolution of this question. Out-of-court statements made by a patient to a [medical provider] may be admitted into evidence if the declarant was seeking medical diagnosis or treatment, and the statements are reasonably pertinent to achieving these ends. . . . The rationale for excluding from the hearsay rule statements made in furtherance of obtaining treatment is that we presume that such statements are inherently reliable because the patient has an incentive to tell the truth in order to obtain a proper medical diagnosis and treatment. . . . The term medical encompasses psychological as well as somatic illnesses and conditions. . . . Statements made by a sexual assault complainant to a social worker may fall within the exception if the social worker is found to have been acting within the chain of medical care. . . . Although [t]he medical treatment exception to the hearsay rule requires that the statements be both pertinent to treatment and motivated by a desire for treatment . . . in cases involving juveniles, [we] have permitted this requirement to be satisfied inferentially.'' (Citations omitted; emphasis in original; footnote omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Gris-wold, supra, 160 Conn.App. 552-56. Applying these principles, this court noted that the record in that case provided sufficient evidence demonstrating that the victims' statements made in the forensic interviews were reasonably pertinent to their obtaining medical diagnosis and treatment. Id., 557. In this vein, this court took particular note of the fact that the information obtained from the minor victims' statements in the forensic interviews was provided to their medical providers and mental health practitioners. Id. Furthermore, this court focused on the fact that the professionals conducting the forensic interviews, as necessary, made referrals for mental health and medical treatment at the conclusion of each interview. Id. Finally, this court took particular note of the fact that the advocacy center performed physical and mental health examinations on victims of sexual abuse on-site. Id.

         In the present case, guided by Griswold, we conclude that the court properly admitted into evidence the video recording of the forensic interview between Montelli and the victim because the victim's statements made during the interview fell under the medical diagnosis and treatment exception to the hearsay rule. We reach this conclusion because the state adequately demonstrated that an objective observer could determine that the victim's statements to Montelli during the forensic interview were reasonably pertinent to obtaining medical treatment and that Montelli sufficiently occupied a position within the chain of medical care. See id.; see also State v. Cruz, supra, 260 Conn. 6 (‘‘[w]e . . . conclude that the medical treatment exception to the hearsay rule applies to statements made by a sexual assault victim to a social worker who is acting within the chain of medical care, as long as those statements are made for the purpose of obtaining medical diagnosis or treatment and are pertinent to the diagnosis or treatment sought''). Furthermore, given that the medical diagnosis and treatment exception does not require that the primary purpose of the forensic interview and the statements made by the victim therein be for medical treatment, we are satisfied that the victim's statements fell within the exception despite the facts that a police officer and a department social worker were observing the interview, it was recorded, and Montelli's questions largely focused on determining what had happened to the victim in his encounters with the defendant. We also note that the involvement of a police officer in the interview does not automatically preclude a statement from falling within the medical diagnosis and treatment exception. See, e.g., State v. Miller, 121 Conn.App. 775, 783, 998 A.2d 170 (‘‘[W]e are not persuaded by the defendant's argument that because the victim knew that police officers were present during the interview, the purpose of her interview with [a licensed family therapist] was not for medical treatment. This fact does not undermine the medical treatment purpose of the interview.''), cert. denied, 298 Conn. 902, 3 A.3d 72 (2010).

         The record reflects that the timing and context of the forensic interview in relation to the victim's other visits to medical professionals supported the conclusion that the interview was not solely conducted in preparation for a legal proceeding, but rather was reasonably pertinent to obtaining medical treatment. After the victim revealed the details of his encounters with the defendant to F and C, the victim, as a result of those encounters, received a medical diagnosis and began receiving treatment at Clifford Beers in April, 2010. Dr. Adams, a psychologist who treated the victim at Clifford Beers in 2010, testified that Clifford Beers is a ‘‘community mental health center, '' and that when F and C took the victim to Clifford Beers for the first time after he disclosed the details of the defendant's actions to them, as part of the intake process, the victim was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after he was examined by Dr. Brodhagen, who is also a psychologist. From April, 2010, to approximately October, 2011, the victim continued visiting Dr. Adams for therapy sessions in order to treat this disorder. The forensic interview between the victim and Montelli took place on May 3, 2010, which was during the time period during which Dr. Adams and other professionals at Clifford Beers were treating the victim for post-traumatic stress disorder. On May 7, 2010, which was several days after the victim participated in the forensic interview with Mon-telli, he also visited Murphy for a medical evaluation.

         Although Murphy testified that she did not observe the video recording of the forensic interview between the victim and Montelli prior to her conducting a medical evaluation of him, she testified that she met with Montelli and discussed the relevant details of the victim's situation as they related to his encounters with the defendant. Murphy also testified that she met with C to obtain any additional necessary information pertaining to the victim's medical history prior to her conducting a medical evaluation of him. Furthermore, Murphy testified that at the commencement of her medical evaluation, she told the victim, as she normally does, that she works with Montelli and that she wanted to make sure that the victim understood that he knew that she was checking his body to make sure that he was in good physical health as a result of his previous encounters with the defendant. Murphy also testified that, as a standard operating procedure, she works closely with social workers, like Montelli, who conduct forensic interviews of victims so that she has all necessary information about the victims' medical histories and the nature of the abuse that they allegedly have experienced.[8] Finally, Murphy testified that, at the time that she conducted the medical evaluation of the victim, she was aware that Montelli had given the victim therapy referrals, and she was further aware that he had begun receiving mental health treatment at Clifford Beers.

         On the basis of our review of the record, we conclude that the victim's statements made during the forensic interview with Montelli were reasonably pertinent to his receiving medical treatment. Although the victim already had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by Clifford Beers professionals in April, 2010, his treatment for this disorder did not conclude, at the earliest, until the commencement of the defendant's criminal trial. Furthermore, as Murphy testified, she met with Montelli to discuss the forensic interview to obtain the history and other relevant details prior to conducting the physical examination of the victim. Thus, the physical examination of the victim was informed by the forensic interview. The evidence showed that both Montelli and Murphy were aware that other medical and mental health professionals were treating the victim and that part of Montelli's purpose in this regard was to elicit information to pass on to these professionals, including Murphy, so that proper treatment could be rendered. Specifically, as Murphy testified, professionals at the Yale clinic worked to ensure that the victim was receiving proper treatment from those other professionals, particularly those working at Clifford Beers.

         Accordingly, we conclude that the court properly determined that the victim's statements made during the forensic interview with Montelli fell within the medical diagnosis and treatment exception to the hearsay rule, and that the court did not abuse its ...


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