THE CIRCUIT COURT OF SHENANDOAH COUNTY Dennis L. Hupp, Judge
Lloyd Snook, III (Snook & Haughey, P.C., on brief), for
Katherine Quinlan Adelfio, Assistant Attorney General (Mark
R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.
Present: Judges Humphreys, Decker and Russell Argued at
G. RUSSELL, JR., JUDGE
Joseph Wakeman was convicted by a jury of rape by force or
threat in violation of Code § 18.2-61. On appeal, he
claims the trial court erred in qualifying Nurse Raymer
Balciunas as an expert in the area of sexual assault forensic
examination when she did not possess a formal certification
as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). For the reasons
that follow, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
well-settled principles of appellate review, we consider the
evidence presented at trial in the light most favorable to
the Commonwealth, the prevailing party below."
Bolden v. Commonwealth, 275 Va. 144, 148, 654 S.E.2d
584, 586 (2008). So viewed, the evidence establishes that
Wakeman's wife asked the victim, L.N., if she would
babysit the couple's two small children on April 23,
2016. L.N. agreed to do so.
L.N. was sixteen years old at the time, she did not have a
driver's license, so Wakeman picked her up at about 8:30
that morning and brought L.N. to his house. After finishing
breakfast with L.N. and his two children, Wakeman asked L.N.
to accompany him outside while he smoked. While outside,
Wakeman commented on L.N.'s physical appearance and took
a photograph of her with L.N.'s phone's camera. L.N.
testified at trial that they then went back into the house
and that Wakeman "wanted to teach me some moves in case
I was ever in a bad situation that I needed to get out
of." Wakeman then went upstairs and put an obstacle in
front of one of the doors so that a child could not come
began instructing L.N. regarding self-defense techniques. For
the first technique, he instructed L.N. to get on her hands
and knees and then roll over and put her legs around his
neck. L.N. complied. After that, he taught her a second move,
which was similar to the first except that L.N.'s head
rested on the ground and her hands were behind her back.
Wakeman instructed L.N. to roll over and put a leg around his
neck. While she was practicing this move for the second or
third time, Wakeman put his hand underneath L.N.'s shirt
but over her bra and made a comment about her breasts.
that time, L.N. received a facetime message from a friend, so
she called her back and texted another friend that Wakeman
had just sexually assaulted her. Wakeman went outside to
smoke, and, when he returned, said he wanted to teach L.N. a
third move. This technique required L.N. to lie on her back
with her legs over one of his shoulders. She was supposed to
kick him in the chest, but instead, Wakeman pulled up her
tank top and bra, exposing her breasts. He then pulled her
pants down to her knees while holding her hands down behind
her head. He removed his pants, spit on his hand, and rubbed
his penis. He kept telling L.N. that this is what a rapist
would do to her. He then placed the tip of his penis into her
vagina as he continued to tell her that "the rapist is
going to do this." The encounter ended when
Wakeman's daughters came downstairs.
Wakeman took the girls back upstairs. While he was upstairs,
L.N. again texted her friend. She asked the friend to come
get her because Wakeman had just assaulted her.
Wakeman came back downstairs, he told L.N. he was going to
teach her a fourth maneuver. He positioned L.N. on her knees
in front of the couch with her head positioned on the couch.
Wakeman removed each of their pants and instructed L.N. to
roll over and push him off. He then inserted his penis into
her vagina and, according to L.N., "started thrusting as
I was trying to roll over, he told me I had to fight harder .
. . . He was using force against me." L.N. kept trying
to roll over as instructed, but was unsuccessful. L.N.
estimated the episode lasted five minutes. L.N. testified
that Wakeman never ejaculated. When Wakeman noticed L.N. was
crying, he pulled his pants up and said "oh shit . . .
if you ever tell the cops that this . . . how I taught you, I
could go to jail for twenty (20) years." Wakeman, as he
was leaving the house, said, "I'm going to eat a
bullet now." Immediately after the incident, L.N. texted
her friend and informed her that Wakeman "just raped
me." Finally, L.N. detailed the events in a text to a
third friend because L.N. knew she eventually would be
talking to the police.
went to the Winchester Medical Center and was examined by a
forensic nurse, Raymer Balciunas. Nurse Balciunas testified
that she had been employed at Winchester Medical Center since
2010 and had obtained several degrees, including a
Bachelor's Degree in History and Sociology, a
Master's Degree in Sociology, and a Bachelor's Degree
in Science and Nursing. She had been employed as an emergency
room nurse her entire career and indicated that her specialty
was in trauma emergency service. She was certified in
Emergency Nursing, and, since 2014, had been with the
forensic nursing program at the hospital. That program is
designed to deal with adults and adolescents who eventually
may have contact with law enforcement regarding the treatment
they receive at the hospital.
of her participation in the program, Balciunas completed
significant training, including forty hours regarding adult
services and forty hours for adolescent and pediatric
services. She completed the training required to be a SANE in
2014, but never obtained the actual certification. Upon
questioning by the trial court, Balciunas testified that she
had been performing sexual assault examinations on her own
since 2014 and had performed them under the supervision of
her director in 2013. The Commonwealth offered her as an
expert in "sexual assault forensic examination."