Supreme Court Upholds Casper Man’s Sexual Assault Conviction
The Wyoming Supreme Court unanimously upheld the conviction and sentence of a Casper man who was convicted and sentenced last year for sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult, according to an opinion it handed down last week.
Raymond Martin Brown was convicted in June 2018 for third-degree (no intrusion) sexual assault of a 30-year-old woman with Down syndrome in the parking lot of a bar in east Casper in July 2017.
In October 2018, Natrona County District Court Judge Thomas Sullins sentenced Brown to a four- to 12-year prison term for third-degree sexual assault and a four- to eight-year term for intentional abuse of a vulnerable adult, with those prison terms to run at the same time.
In February, Brown appealed the sentence on the grounds that the court committed "plain error" when it admitted hearsay testimony from several witnesses and a video recording of the woman's interview at the Children's Advocacy Project.
He also questioned whether the evidence was sufficient for the jury to convict him.
The case started on July 8, 2017, when a Casper police detective investigated a reported sexual assault at the Keg & Cork. Dispatch told the detective that a fight was about to break out over "a male molesting a female with Down Syndrome," according to court records.
The woman who called 911 told police that she had been at the bar celebrating her 10-year high school reunion, and had brought her 30-year-old cousin. About 1 a.m., the woman said her cousin approached her and said a man had tried "to get sexy with her," according to court records.
The victim identified Brown. She said he had taken her out to his truck in the parking lot, where he touched her inappropriately.
In interviews with police and a forensic interview, the victim said Brown had attempted to do "sex stuff" to her, and touched her private parts. The victim told police that she told Brown to stop at least twice before he backed off, and they returned to the bar.
In its opinion, the Wyoming Supreme Court wrote the district court did not err when it admitted hearsay testimony from five witnesses including the woman who made the 911 call and the CAP interview video.
Hearsay -- a statement by someone other than one testifying -- normally is not admissible in court.
However, neither Brown nor his attorneys objected to either the testimony or the video during the trial, the court wrote. "Because Mr. Brown's counsel similarly did not object at trial, it is exceedingly difficult to identify how the court violated the hearsay rule when it admitted the challenged testimony and CAP interview."
The court also wrote the evidence was sufficient to convict Brown.
The district court instructed the jury that the prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Brown caused the submission of the woman and that he knew or reasonably should have known that she was incapable of appraising his conduct, according to the opinion.
Brown said the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence, but the Supreme Court wrote that he should have known by her physical characteristics and testimony of witnesses that she was disabled.
Brown also argued that he could not have "intentionally" abused a vulnerable adult because he was drunk with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.14%.
However, one witness said that he spoke coherently and stood upright, according to the opinion. "This evidence, together with the outward manifestations of [the victim's] Down syndrome, supports an inference from which the jury could reasonably conclude that even at his level of intoxication, Mr. Brown was capable of forming the intent to abuse a vulnerable adult."