THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CAMPBELL COUNTY John T. Cook, Judge
Matthew L. Pack (M. Pack Law, PLLC, on brief), for appellant.
P. Murphy, Senior Assistant Attorney General (Mark R.
Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.
Present: Judges Alston, Chafin and Malveaux Argued at Salem,
BENNETT MALVEAUX, JUDGE
Lance Hillman ("appellant") was found guilty of use
of a computer to solicit a minor, in violation of Code §
18.2-374.3, and taking indecent liberties with a child, in
violation of Code § 18.2-370. On appeal, appellant
argues the trial court (1) erred in finding that the evidence
was sufficient to prove that his actions constituted an
exposure; (2) erred in finding that the evidence was
sufficient to prove that he knew or had reason to believe
that the victim was younger than 15 years of age; and (3)
abused its discretion by allowing photographs to be admitted
that had not been properly authenticated. Finding no error,
was employed as the youth pastor at A.F.'s church.
Between August and December of 2015, A.F. sought out
appellant for counseling because of prior sexual abuse. At
that time, A.F. was fourteen years old and in the eighth
grade. Appellant was twenty-two years old. To participate in
the church's youth group, A.F. had to sign a medical
release form which listed both her age and date of birth.
This form was given to the church. A.F. never told appellant
that she was older than fourteen, but did not specifically
remember telling him her age.
and appellant began to communicate via text message and later
through Snapchat.Several dated and time-stamped text
messages recovered from appellant's iPad show that on the
evening of October 27, 2015, appellant asked A.F. if she used
Snapchat, and asked her to "add" him to hers.
Appellant then gave A.F. his Snapchat user name, and ten
minutes later asked her if she "g[o]t that." A.F.
replied "yes" about twenty seconds later. During a
two-hour period that night, appellant and A.F. exchanged text
messages stating that they had sent Snapchat messages and
asking if the other person had received them.
Snapchat, A.F. sent appellant a nude picture of her upper
body, and in return, appellant sent her a nude picture of
himself. Appellant also sent A.F. a picture of his erect
penis. They also sent each other videos in which appellant
was nude and A.F.'s upper body was nude.
Sloan, an investigator with the Campbell County Sheriff's
Office at the time of the offenses, testified that in
addition to the text messages, he found photographs on
appellant's iPad of a male subject with visible
genitalia. The Commonwealth attempted to introduce
these photographs through Sloan. Counsel for appellant
objected on the ground that they were not properly
authenticated. The court sustained the objection. The
Commonwealth recalled A.F. and asked her if she had received
the photographs from appellant via Snapchat, to which A.F.
responded in the affirmative. However, A.F. also acknowledged
on cross-examination that during the period of time in which
she and appellant were exchanging Snapchat messages, the
application deleted photographs shortly after they were sent
and they could not be saved. A.F. then testified that because
the pictures were sent with Snapchat, the photographs she saw
in court were not actually the pictures that were sent, but
were just "similar." Also on cross-examination,
A.F. was asked whether the pictures were a fair and accurate
representation of the pictures sent to her by appellant, and
she replied "yes." Counsel for appellant again
objected to the introduction of the photographs, arguing that
they still were not properly authenticated as the actual
photographs sent to A.F. The trial court overruled the
objection and admitted the photographs, specifically noting
that A.F. had affirmed that the pictures were a fair and
accurate representation of the photographs sent to her by
Dudley of the Campbell County Sheriff's Office testified
that he interviewed appellant as a part of his investigation.
Dudley testified that "[appellant's] story was just
about the same as [A.F.'s]." Dudley testified that
during the recorded interview, appellant admitted sending
A.F. naked photographs and videos, and also admitted to
asking A.F. for naked photographs and videos, a request with
which she complied. Appellant told Dudley that exchanging the
photographs was a counseling technique he used to help A.F.
deal with prior sexual abuse that she had revealed to him.
When asked during the interview how old A.F. was, appellant
responded "fifteen I believe . . . fourteen,
was convicted, after a jury trial, of use of a computer to
solicit a minor, in violation of Code § 18.2-374.3, and
taking indecent liberties with a child, in violation of Code
"Exposure" under Code § 18.2-370
appeal, appellant argues that the trial court erred in
finding the evidence sufficient to prove that he committed an
act of exposure necessary for a conviction of ...