April 22, 2015.
from Pickens County. G. Edward Welmaker, Circuit Court Judge.
Appellate Case No. 2013-002002.
Defender Laura R. Baer and Carmen V. Ganjehsani, of
Richardson Plowden & Robinson, P.A., both of Columbia,
and Dayne Phillips, of Lexington; all for Petitioner.
General Alan M. Wilson and Assistant Attorney General
Christina C. Bigelow, both of Columbia, for Respondent.
KITTREDGE. HEARN, J. and Acting Justice Jean H. Toal, concur.
PLEICONES, C.J., dissenting in a separate opinion in which
BEATTY, J., concurs.
WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
Richard Burton Beekman was convicted of committing
first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor on
his stepson (Stepson) and a lewd act upon a child on his
stepdaughter (Stepdaughter). We granted a writ of certiorari
to review the court of appeals' decision affirming the
trial court's denial of Beekman's motion to sever the
charges. We affirm.
2006, Beekman married Mother, who shared joint custody of
Stepdaughter and Stepson with her ex-husband. On July 7,
2008, Stepdaughter reported to Mother that Beekman had
sexually abused her. Mother took Stepdaughter to the
children's grandmother's house for the night, and she
and Stepson moved there the next day. At the
grandmother's house, Stepson began acting out--scratching
his skin, banging his head, hyperventilating, and drawing
pictures of Beekman dying. Eventually, a cousin came over to
talk to Stepson, and he disclosed to her that he had also
been sexually abused by Beekman.
was subsequently charged with committing CSC on Stepson and a
lewd act on Stepdaughter. The State sought to prosecute both
indictments in a single trial. Beekman moved to sever the two
charges, arguing they did not arise from the same chain of
circumstances, would not be proved by the same evidence, and
were not of the same general nature. He further argued he
would be substantially prejudiced if the cases were tried
jointly. The trial court denied the motion, finding that the
events arose out of the same chain of circumstances and there
was a " great overlap of evidence."
case proceeded to trial. Stepdaughter testified that on the
evening of July 6, 2008, she and Stepson slept on couches in
the living room because their rooms were messy. She stayed up
watching the Disney Channel awhile, but eventually fell
asleep. She awoke later in the night to Beekman touching her
" private area" beneath her clothes. The television
was still on and the news was playing. Beekman was startled
when Stepdaughter woke up, and he asked if she knew where the
remote was. She threw it at him, and he left the room.
According to Stepdaughter, she told Mother the next night
about Beekman touching her, and they immediately moved into
her grandmother's house.
also testified that, on two separate occasions within an
eight-month period, Beekman touched Stepson's penis
while they were watching the news together. On both
occasions, Beekman put his hands under Stepson's clothes
and touched Stepson's bare skin. Stepson further stated
that Beekman anally penetrated him on one occasion while
Stepson was in Beekman's room watching the news.
disclosing the abuse, Stepson was examined by Dr. Nancy
Henderson, the head of Greenville Hospital System's
section on child abuse and neglect and a physician
board-certified in child abuse pediatrics. Dr. Henderson
testified that Stepson informed her he had been touched on
his genitals and that " someone had put his private part
into [Stepson's] bottom." Although his rectal exam
was normal and did not uncover any signs of scars or ...