[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
FROM THE MILLER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 46CR-15-281],
HONORABLE BRENT HALTOM, JUDGE
Rosenzweig, for appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Brooke Jackson Gasaway, Asst Atty
Gen., for appellee.
R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Appellant Jared Harper was convicted by a Miller County
Circuit Court jury of rape, second-degree sexual assault, and
sexual indecency with a child. The judgment entered on April
12, 2018, reflects that Harper was sentenced to an aggregate
term of 360 months imprisonment. On appeal, Harper argues
that the circuit court erred by (1) permitting Missy Davidson
to testify as an expert witness about victim recantation, (2)
denying his motion for a continuance, and (3) denying his
motion to produce the prosecutors notes from an interview
with the victim. For the following reasons, we affirm in part
and remand for further proceedings.
March 2015, Harpers eleven-year-old stepdaughter, K.S.,
disclosed that Harper had been sexually abusing her. On June
26, 2015, the State filed a criminal information charging
Harper with rape, second-degree sexual assault, and sexual
indecency with a child.
who was fourteen years old at the time of trial, testified
that Harper had sexually abused her from ages seven to ten.
K.S. stated that the first time was after she got out of the
shower one day. Harper told her to leave her underwear off.
Then he "rolled his finger around [her] private
part" but did not put his finger inside her vagina.
Other times when K.S. and Harper watched movies together on
the couch, he touched her "private parts" with his
fingers. K.S. testified that Harper attempted to insert his
finger into her vagina, but "he never really got it
Harper would stop the inappropriate touching after K.S. told
him that it hurt.
explained that Harpers fingers "went past just the
outside." Besides touching K.S. with his fingers, Harper
also licked K.S.s vagina several times. Harper "tried
to get [his penis] in [her] hole but it hurt too much so he
couldnt." K.S. stated that only the tip of Harpers
penis went inside her. K.S. testified that on one occasion
when Harper was driving to E-Z Mart, he made her put her
mouth on his penis. Harper told K.S. that if she put her
mouth on his penis, he would buy her something from E-Z Mart.
described Harpers penis and semen in specific detail. She
testified that she did not tell her mother about the abuse
for fear of hurting her mother. She said her mother "was
in love with [Harper]" and needed him financially to pay
the bills at home. K.S. also testified that she still loves
Harper and wants his love in return. She believed that
letting Harper sexually abuse her would make him love her.
Davidson interviewed K.S. about the sexual-abuse allegations
at the Childrens Advocacy Center (CAC) in Texarkana on March
27, 2015. Davidson is the CAC program director and also a
licensed professional counselor and a forensic interviewer.
K.S. told Davidson about some of the sexual abuse, but not
all of it. At that point, Harper was no longer living in the
house, and K.S. testified that she missed him and wanted him
to come back home. She told Davidson that her family had
"lost like everything" and that "[a]ll the
money was gone." K.S. testified that she "felt
guilty" and "responsible" for hurting her mom
and her brothers.
June 2015, K.S.s mother took K.S. to meet with Randal
Harris, an investigator hired by the defense. K.S. testified
that she told Harris the sexual abuse did not happen because
she "wanted [her] family back." A few weeks later,
K.S. met with Davidson at the CAC and told her that the
sexual-abuse allegations were not true. K.S. also wrote a
three-page letter in late 2016 stating that she made up the
sexual-abuse allegations against Harper because of the
problems going on in her family.
in 2017, K.S. told Davidson that the allegations were true.
She testified that at that time she did it because it had
been a couple of years, the allegations were
"true," and she was a "little older."
K.S. testified that after she made the sexual-abuse
allegations against Harper, she and her mom did not get
along. But after she recanted, their relationship was
Harpers objections at trial, Missy Davidson was qualified as
an expert witness in forensic interviews. The circuit court
allowed Davidson to testify about the phenomenon of
recantation, but not specifically about K.S. or Harper.
Davidson explained generally how she conducted child
interviews at the CAC. When interviewing a child, Davidson
asked "neutral open ended non-leading questions."
Davidson looked for "sensory details" about what
the child saw, heard, felt, tasted, and smelled.
Davidson also explained the five stages of disclosure that a
child typically goes through when reporting abuse. Stage one
is "denial" in which a child may deny the sexual
abuse altogether or deny only portions of it. Stage two
involves the "tentative" stage in which the child
may give a few details of the abuse but minimize it. The
third stage of disclosure is "active" in which the
child may go into much more detail about the abuse.
"Recantation" is the fourth stage, with a child
recanting and saying the abuse never happened. Finally, the
last stage is "reaffirmation" in which the child
once again confirms the abuse.
Davidson testified that recantation is common. She also
explained that some of the reasons for recantation are that
the child loves the abuser and wants things to go back to the
way they were before disclosure of the abuse. Davidson did
not testify about the victim or the allegations in this case.
appeal, Harper argues that the circuit court should not have
permitted the State to present "profile and bolstering
evidence to attempt to explain or excuse the accusers
changing stories." Specifically, Harper maintains that
it was improper profile evidence, that Davidson should not
have been permitted to testify as an expert, and that it was
improper bolstering of the "accusers testimony."
standard of review on admissibility of expert testimony is
abuse of discretion. Johninson v. State, 317 Ark.
431, 878 S.W.2d 727 (1994). Because the admission of
testimony is a matter within the circuit courts sound
discretion, we will not reverse that decision on appeal
absent a manifest abuse of discretion and a showing of
prejudice to the defendant. E.g., Hajek-McClure
v. State,2014 Ark.App. 690, at 3, 450 S.W.3d 259, 261.
Abuse of discretion is a high threshold that requires that
the circuit court act improvidently, thoughtlessly, or
without due consideration. E.g., id. at 3,
450 S.W.3d at 261-62. The general test for admissibility of