Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Serrato v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

July 18, 2019

ALFREDO SERRATO, Appellant
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 292nd Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas, Trial Court Cause Nos. F-1731348-V & F-1731349-V

          Before Justices Bridges, Brown, and Nowell.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ADA BROWN JUSTICE.

         Alfredo Serrato appeals his convictions for indecency with a child by contact and aggravated sexual assault of a child. The two complainants, JA and DA, are brothers. Appellant was tried jointly for the offenses, and a jury found him guilty. Serrato raises three issues in the indecency case and two in the aggravated sexual assault case. He challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to prove indecency and complains of the admission of hearsay statements and jury charge error. We affirm both judgments.

         Background

         The indictment charging appellant with indecency with a child alleged that on or about May 1, 2015, appellant unlawfully, with intent to arouse and gratify his sexual desire, engaged in sexual contact with JA, a child younger than seventeen years and not appellant's spouse, by contact between appellant's hand and JA's genitals. The indictment charging appellant with aggravated sexual assault of a child alleged that on or about February 1, 2016, appellant intentionally and knowingly caused the contact and penetration of DA's anus by appellant's sexual organ. The indictment further alleged DA was not appellant's spouse and was younger than fourteen.

         In each case, the State gave pretrial notice of possible outcry witnesses. At the hearing to determine the proper outcry witness, the prosecutor informed the judge that the State was not offering the outcry of JA, only the outcry of DA. The trial court determined that the forensic interviewer, Megan Peterson, was the outcry witness in the case involving DA.

         At the time of trial, JA was eight years' old and DA was nine. Appellant was the boyfriend of the boys' uncle Carlos and was known as "Freddie." The State presented evidence that appellant and Carlos lived in the same house with JA and DA and several other family members from early 2013 to early 2016 and that the sexual abuse occurred during that time. The allegations came to light in July 2017. Both boys testified that appellant engaged in sexual conduct with them. Appellant testified and denied the allegations. The jury found appellant guilty as charged in each case and assessed his punishment at fifteen years' confinement for indecency with a child and thirty years' confinement for aggravated sexual assault of child.

         Appeal of the Indecency with a Child Conviction

         In his first issue in the indecency case, appellant contends the evidence is insufficient to support the jury's verdict. He argues the evidence creates only a "suspicion of wrongdoing."

         When reviewing appellant's complaint about the sufficiency of the evidence, we consider all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict to determine whether, based on that evidence and the reasonable inferences therefrom, a factfinder was rationally justified in finding guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Temple v. State, 390 S.W.3d 341, 360 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013); see Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 318-19 (1979). The factfinder is the sole judge of the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given their testimony. Temple, 390 S.W.3d at 360. The testimony of a child victim alone is sufficient to support a conviction for indecency with a child. See Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 38.07; Lee v. State, 186 S.W.3d 649, 655 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, pet. ref'd).

         JA testified that he used to live in Grand Prairie with his grandparents, parents, siblings, and Carlos and Freddie. One time, JA was sleeping on a couch at home. He woke up and saw Freddie right next to him. Freddie touched JA's side with his hand. Then Freddie touched JA's private part under JA's underwear. On a picture of a boy's body, JA identified the "private part" as the part one uses "to pee." On cross-examination, JA stated that he thinks he was four when the offense occurred.

         Appellant's complaint about the sufficiency of the evidence amounts to a challenge to JA's credibility. He suggests the evidence is insufficient because there was no outcry witness in the case involving JA and because JA was not asked to identify the date of the offense. The court of criminal appeals has stated, "Especially where young children are involved, we have cautioned that courts cannot impose unrealistic expectations regarding proof of when an offense actually occurred." Dixon v. State, 201 S.W.3d 731, 736 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006). It is well settled that the "on or about" language in an indictment allows the State to prove a date other than the one alleged as long as the date is anterior to the presentment of the indictment and within the statutory limitations period. Sledge v. State, 953 S.W.2d 253, 256 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997); see Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 21.02. There is no statutory limitations period for indecency with a child. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 12.01. The State's evidence showed the offense occurred prior to presentment of the indictment in October 2017. JA's testimony alone was legally sufficient to support appellant's conviction for indecency with a child by contact. We will not disturb the jury's determination of the credibility of the witnesses. We overrule appellant's first issue in the indecency case.

         In his second issue, appellant contends the trial court erred in admitting testimony from Daniel A., JA and DA's paternal uncle, over appellant's hearsay objection. We conclude ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.