Bondi v. Commonwealth (P)

The defendant-appellant was properly convicted for object sexual penetration, committed when he was youth pastor for the victim.

The Commonwealth’s evidence was sufficient to establish that appellant accomplished the object sexual penetration by force. The appellant argues that the victim did not testify that appellant held her down or restrained her during the attack. However, when the victim tried to leave, he grabbed her arm, pulled her back down on the sofa, and penetrated her vagina again with his fingers. The victim, a teenager at the time, felt that she had to stay at the appellant’s home because he was “aggressive” and “insistent” when she tried to leave. She said she was “completely frozen and in shock” during the penetration and experienced considerable physical pain as a result. She also remained fearful of the appellant after the incident.

The evidence also was sufficient to prove that the crime was committed by intimidation. The victim testified that he was her mentor and father figure, “[o]ne of the people [she] trusted the most and valued the most.” Because of the betrayal and distrust she felt after the assault, the victim didn’t disclose the full details of the crime until years after the offense. A factfinder could reasonably conclude that the appellant exercised emotional dominance over the victim through his actions. She was susceptible to psychological pressure as a result of her relationship with the appellant and her sexual inexperience as a teenager. Her testimony of her fear, pain, and feeling of paralysis demonstrated that the appellant overcame her mind and will by placing her in fear of bodily harm.

Finally, although the appellant asserts that the victim lacked an independent recollection of the crime, particularly penetration, until her therapy in 2016, the record demonstrates otherwise.

Affirmed.

Bondi v. Commonwealth (P), No. 1676-17-1, Mar. 26, 2019. CAV (O’Brien) from Va. Beach (Padrick).



Categories: Court of Appeals of Virginia, Opinions, Published

Tags:

%d bloggers like this: