FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04CR-14-415]
HONORABLE BRAD KARREN, JUDGE
Law Firm, by: Lee D. Short, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Ashley Priest, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
F. VIRDEN, JUDGE
Benton County jury convicted appellant Jeran Sorum of rape,
second-degree sexual assault, and first-degree computer
exploitation of a child. He was sentenced to an aggregate
term of twelve years in prison. Sorum argues that (1) there
was insufficient evidence to support each of his convictions,
(2) his convictions for rape and second-degree sexual assault
violate the prohibition against double jeopardy, and (3) the
trial court erred in excluding evidence based on the
rape-shield statute. We affirm.
Mike Lira with the Benton County Sheriff's Office
testified that the child-abuse hotline received a report from
the principal of the Siloam Springs High School about an
incident that had occurred off campus involving a student.
Lira arranged for a forensic interview of that student, K.G.,
at the Children's Advocacy Center. Lira said that K.G.
disclosed that she had been sexually assaulted by Sorum.
Lira's investigation revealed that on Friday, September
27, 2013, twenty to twenty-five people-mostly
teenagers-attended a party at Thomas King's residence and
that alcohol was served. The victim was said to have been
"extremely intoxicated." While Lira was
interviewing witnesses about the party, he learned that there
was a video from the party. Lira obtained a search warrant
for Sorum's cell phone. The video had been deleted, but a
detective retrieved it using new technology. The video
depicts Sorum and Andrew ("Drew") Wall in a room
with K.G. passed out on a mattress. Lira testified to what he
thought he heard being said on the video. He attributes the
following statements to Sorum:
1. "Wake up. Get in that ass. Oh yeah."
2. "I want to fuck that again, Drew."
3. "Get in there, bitch. If you don't do it,
you're the biggest pussy I ever met."
4. "Should we really put a condom on it and fuck her
with it? You gotta hold her shorts."
5. "Help me. Put it on the broomstick. Do it now. Start
with the condom. Use the condom now."
6. "Give me-give me the fucking condom. Are you going to
put it on your dick or not?"
7. "Oh, you're not? See if, uh, hold this. Watch
this. This is redneck fucking, dude. Fat bitches have done
gone to bed."
testified that he pleaded guilty to computer exploitation of
a child in the second degree, and he admitted having told
many inconsistent versions of the incident. Wall stated that
he and Sorum were intoxicated but were aware that K.G. was
"very high." Wall said that he and Sorum were
"messing with some cats" in the hallway outside the
bedroom where K.G. slept. Wall stated that, before going into
the bedroom, Sorum had seen a broom and had said,
"I'm gonna fuck her with this broom." Wall used
Sorum's cell phone as a flashlight. Wall stated that the
cell phone's battery had died at some point, that he had
handed the phone back to Sorum, and that he had gotten a
flashlight from his truck and returned to the room. Wall
stated that Sorum had put a condom on the broomstick, pulled
down K.G.'s pants, and put the broomstick in her vagina.
He said that, although she had been sleeping, K.G.'s eyes
suddenly opened when the broomstick went inside her. Wall
admitted sending the following message to K.G. on Saturday
night, September 28, 2013, via Facebook: "Something
happened to you that night." When K.G. asked what had
happened, Wall wrote, "You got f'd with a
Postoak testified that he pleaded guilty to computer
exploitation of a minor. Postoak stated that he had attended
King's party, but he denied being in the room with Sorum
and Wall. He said that on the following day several friends
from school were in his garage smoking K2, which he described
as "artificial marijuana that you buy from a store,
" and talking about the party. Postoak testified that
Sorum said that he "had fucked [K.G.] with a
broomstick" and that everybody had thought it was a joke
until Sorum played a video. Postoak recalled seeing Sorum
"poking around at [K.G.]" and putting a condom on a
testified that she was fifteen years old at the time of
King's party. She said that she had consumed two or three
beers and then switched to a "pretty big" bottle of
Everclear that she shared with a friend. She and her friend
were dancing inside, and they went outside where it was
cooler. K.G. took off her shirt, under which she wore a
sports bra. She then got on the ground and started throwing
up repeatedly. She said she was dizzy, stumbling, and
"wasn't really aware of what was going on." Her
friends helped her inside, undressed her, and put her in the
shower because she had thrown up on her clothes and had vomit
in her hair. K.G.'s friends then dressed her in
sweatpants and a sweater belonging to someone else and took
her to a back bedroom where she lay down on a mattress and
fell asleep. K.G. said she remembered waking up several
times. The first time she awoke, she saw a bowl in front of
her with vomit in it. The second time she awoke, Postoak had
her hand down his pants, and she had pulled away. The third
time she woke up, Manuel Crus had come into the room and was
"asking me if I wanted to, " to which she had
yelled, "No!" She awoke again to find Sorum on top
of her with her legs pinned between his, and she turned her
head and saw a bright light. K.G. said that she was
"pretty certain" Wall was holding a cell phone,
which illuminated the room. K.G. said that she was certain
that Sorum was on top of her. She said, "Since the
flashlight was pointing towards our direction, it made Jeran
a lot more clearer than anything else, his curly hair and all
of his characteristics from his body." She also
testified that she had known Sorum before that night. K.G.
said that her sweatpants had been pulled down below her knees
and that her vaginal area was "really wet." K.G.
stated that, when she awoke the following day, "it
really burned to pee." She said that she had suffered no
pain while urinating before that night.
young men testified about the day after King's party when
they were smoking K2 in Postoak's garage. Manuel Crus,
who had attended King's party, recalled Sorum saying,
"Remember last night? We were all drinking. We were all
messed up. I have this video." Crus testified that,
while watching the video, "[t]he words out of
Jeran's mouth were that he fucked [K.G.] with a
broomstick. No mistake about that. I remember it
clearly." Brenden Hyde testified that Sorum was
"excited" about showing them the video and said
that he had "screwed" or "fucked" a girl
with a broomstick. Jeremiah Knifechief testified that Sorum
had pulled out his cell phone, showed them a video, and said
something to the effect of "screwing a girl with a
took the stand in his own defense. He testified that he was
seventeen years old at the time of King's party. He
stated that he and others had been videotaping and taking
pictures during the party. Sorum testified that he and Wall
were intoxicated, that they had wandered into a bedroom, and
that Wall had his (Sorum's) cell phone. Sorum said that
he first realized K.G. was in the room and passed out when he
saw her from the cell phone's light. Sorum said that Wall
was recording when they entered the room. He stated that he
and Wall were "just kinda goofing around" and
"drunkenly exploring." Sorum said that he had taken
a kitten and had thrown it on K.G. According to Sorum, K.G.
was wearing sweatpants and a sweater and was under a blanket.
He testified that Wall had handed him a broom for some reason
and that he had begun swinging it around and had hit Wall
with it. Sorum recalled that he and Wall had made a lot of
noise in their attempts to wake K.G. and that he had
eventually begun "prodding" her with the
broomstick. He admitted touching her "thigh
region." Sorum described K.G. as a friend from school
and said that when friends pass out at parties, they
"get messed with." He testified that Wall had
produced a condom, opened the wrapper, and handed the condom
to him. Sorum said that "[w]e did not have any plan that
was sexual at all." Sorum said that he had unrolled the
condom onto the broomstick, swung it around a few more times,
"sort of danced around the room a little more, "
and then left the room. Sorum said that he left the party
soon after that. He said that the following morning, Wall and
a female returned his phone and that he had not even realized
that he had forgotten it at the party.
was asked about the voices on the video. He said, "I
have no clue what I meant by 'Get in that ass.' I
have no clue if I even said that. I did not hear it." He
did not recall saying any of the things on the video
testified to by Lira. He said that he did not recall the
"redneck fucking" comment but said, "I did
hear that. I did hear something along the lines of that. I
did hear that. More like what was said was probably like this
is redneck shit. The room is redneck. It was trashy redneck.
I didn't hear 'This is redneck fucking, dude.' I
did not hear that."
further testified that everyone was smoking K2 in
Postoak's garage the following day and talking about how
crazy the party had gotten. Sorum started "going
through" his cell phone and realized for the first time
that there was a video. Sorum said that he had told the other
boys, "Let's watch this." He denied saying that
he had "fucked, " "f'd, " or
"screwed" a girl with a broomstick. When asked why
his good friends would say otherwise, he said that they were
either mistaken or lying and maybe trying "to save their
own ass." Sorum said that the video was dark and of
"crappy quality" and that no one had been excited
about watching ...