FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 26CR-16-130]
HONORABLE MARCIA R. HEARNSBERGER, JUDGE
Standridge, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rachel Kemp, Senior Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge
Fredrick Bruce Barfield was convicted of second-degree sexual
assault by a Garland County jury and was sentenced to ten
years' probation and a fine of $3, 500 by the circuit
court. On appeal, Barfield challenges both the sufficiency of
the evidence supporting his conviction and the manner in
which he was sentenced. We find no error and affirm.
Sufficiency of the Evidence
first point on appeal, Barfield argues that the State failed
to present sufficient proof that he committed the offense of
second-degree sexual assault. Our standard of review for a
sufficiency challenge is well settled. We treat a motion for
directed verdict as a challenge to the sufficiency of the
evidence. King v. State, 2018 Ark.App. 572, 564
S.W.3d 563. In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of
the evidence, we view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the State and consider only the evidence that
supports the verdict. Id. We affirm a conviction if
substantial evidence exists to support it. Id.
Substantial evidence is that which is of sufficient force and
character that it will, with reasonable certainty, compel a
conclusion one way or the other without resorting to
speculation or conjecture. Id.
was charged with second-degree sexual assault over
allegations that he engaged in sexual contact with a
twelve-year-old girl. A person commits the offense of sexual
assault in the second degree if, being eighteen years or
older, he engages in sexual contact with another person who
is less than fourteen years old and not his spouse. Ark. Code
Ann. § 5-14-125(a)(3) (Repl. 2013). It was undisputed at
trial that Barfield is over the age of eighteen and that the
victim, S.H., was twelve years old at the time of the assault
and was not Barfield's spouse.
specific challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence at
trial and on appeal is that the State failed to prove that he
engaged in sexual contact. "Sexual contact" means
"any act of sexual gratification involving the touching,
directly or through clothing, of the sex organs, buttocks, or
anus of a person or the breast of a female." Ark. Code
Ann. § 5-14-101(10). More particularly, he argues that
the State failed to prove that any action he undertook with
S.H. was for the purpose of sexual gratification.
therefore turn to the proof that the State presented at
trial. Barfield was dating Judy Blake, the mother of S.H.,
and would sometimes spend the night at Blake's apartment.
One Friday in November 2014, Barfield spent the night. S.H.
slept on the living-room couch that night. The next morning,
Barfield came into the living room and began touching her.
Initially, he touched S.H.'s breasts over her clothes.
When she asked him to stop, he grabbed her by the waist, held
her down, and put his hand under her shirt and began touching
and squeezing her breast. S.H. eventually slapped him and
said she was going to go tell her mother what happened;
Barfield told her not to tell anyone.
did not follow Barfield's admonition to stay quiet. She
told her sister and her mother what happened. Blake
confronted Barfield by asking, "Did you do it?"
Barfield responded that he might have "brushed up
against her." Blake confirmed with S.H. the details of
what happened, and S.H. told her mother that Barfield
"kept his hand there a whole lot longer than just
brushing up against her." When Blake confronted Barfield
a second time about what S.H. had said, he replied,
"Well, yeah, but I was trying to teach her how to say no
'cause she touched me first." Blake then reported
the assault to the Child Advocacy Center.
the assault was reported, the authorities investigated
Barfield. He provided a recorded interview to the Child
Advocacy Center,  during which he acknowledged that S.H. had
accused him of touching her breasts. He initially alleged
that S.H. had instigated the contact,  but he eventually
admitted grabbing her by the head and "making circle
moves" on her breast and nipple. He maintained, however,
that he was trying to "freak her out where she'd say
was subsequently interviewed by the Hot Springs Police
Department. Once again, Barfield admitted that he had
touched and rubbed S.H.'s nipple "about close to a
minute." He continued to claim, however, that he had
only done so to "educate her" about how to say no.
appeal, Barfield acknowledges that he touched S.H.'s
breast, but he contends that this fact alone is not enough to
sustain a conviction. He argues that in addition to the
physical touching, the State had to prove that he did so for
the purpose of sexual gratification. He contends that the
State failed to prove that his touching of S.H.'s breast
was for such a purpose.
Code Annotated section 5-14-101(10) does not expressly define
"sexual gratification." Our supreme court, however,
has addressed the topic. In McGalliard v. State, 306
Ark. 181, 182-83, 813 S.W.2d 768, 769 (1991), the court
explained the meaning of the term in the context of a rape
"Sexual" is defined in Webster's Third
International Dictionary, unabridged (1961), as "of
or relating to the male or female sexes or their distinctive
organs or functions" or "of or relating to the
sphere of behavior associated with libidinal
gratification." "Gratification" is defined as
"something that pleases." Id. When
construed in accordance with their reasonable and commonly
accepted meaning, and in context with the specific acts
described in section 5-14-101(8), the words leave no doubt as
to what behavior is prohibited under the statute.
pointedly, our supreme court has held that it is not
necessary for the State to provide direct proof that an act
is done for sexual gratification if it can be assumed that
the desire for sexual gratification is a plausible reason for
the act. Warren v. State, 314 Ark. 192, 196, 862
S.W.2d 222, 225 (1993); see also Ross v. State, 2010
Ark.App. 129, at 4 ("Our case law makes clear that when
sexual contact occurs, and there is no legitimate medical
reason for it, it ...