November 5, 2019
from Greenville County Perry H. Gravely, Post-Conviction
Relief Court Judge.
Chief Appellate Defender Wanda H. Carter, of Columbia, for
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney
General Taylor Zane Smith, of Columbia, for Respondent.
Frederick Robert Chappell appeals the dismissal of his
post-conviction relief (PCR) application, arguing the PCR
court erred in denying his claim for ineffective assistance
of counsel because his trial counsel did not object when the
State's expert witness gave improper bolstering
testimony. We reverse.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
December 14, 2010, a Greenville County Grand Jury indicted
Chappell for first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a
minor and lewd act upon a child, and the State called the
case to trial in August 2012. On August 7, 2012, after a
two-day trial, the jury convicted Chappell of both counts,
and the trial court sentenced him to life in
prison. Chappell appealed, arguing this court
should reverse his convictions because the State's expert
witness gave improper vouching testimony. However, in June
2014, this court affirmed Chappell's convictions and held
that Chappell's improper vouching claim was not preserved
for review. State v. Chappell, Op. No. 2014-UP-272
(S.C. Ct. App. filed June 30, 2014).
November 5, 2014, Chappell filed a PCR application, claiming
he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his
trial counsel failed to object when the State's expert
gave improper bolstering testimony. The PCR court held an
evidentiary hearing on December 17, 2015. In an order dated
January 21, 2016, the PCR court dismissed Chappell's
application, finding the State's expert did not make any
improper vouching statements. In May 2018, this court granted
a writ of certiorari to review the PCR court's ruling.
trial, the nine-year-old victim testified her
grandmother's former boyfriend, Chappell, had sexually
abused her several times when she and her siblings visited
her grandmother's home. She alleged that Chappell touched
her "private" and "bottom" with his hands
and mouth and sometimes forced her to touch his
"private." After the victim testified, the jury
watched video of a forensic interview in which the victim
described the abuse and identified Chappell as the
court then held a hearing to determine the admissibility of
testimony from the State's expert witness, Ms. Shauna
Galloway-Williams. During voir dire, Galloway-Williams
testified that she had never interviewed the victim and had
not seen the video of the victim's forensic interview.
Over trial counsel's objection, the court qualified
Galloway-Williams as an expert in child sexual abuse and
direct examination, Galloway-Williams testified to why
children who are victims of sexual abuse might not report the
abuse right away. Then, without objection from trial counsel,
the following exchange occurred between the prosecutor and
Q: . . . Do children lie?
Q: Okay. Do children lie about things like - of a sexual
nature or abuse? And can you tell us the dynamics of lying
and sexual abuse?
A: Children lie. Adults lie. But children are not
sophisticated liars. And what I mean by that is they really -
you know, children, generally, lie to keep themselves out of
trouble, you know. If you ask them if they ate the cookie and
they have crumbs on their face, ...