State v. Graham, ___ N.C. App. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Mar. 17, 2020)

aff'd on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, 2021-NCSC-125 (Oct. 29, 2021)

The defendant was charged with four counts of engaging in sexual acts against a child under 13 and taking indecent liberties with a child. The defendant was alleged to have touched a child, A.M.D., in sexual manner on several occasions over a period of one to two years. The state’s evidence at trial consisted primarily of testimony from the victim, A.M.D., and corroborating testimony from other witnesses to whom she had disclosed the abuse. 

Testimony from one of the witnesses offered as corroboration of the victim’s testimony included details about additional abuse not testified to by the victim. Distinguishing an omission or silence on a subject from direct contradiction, and noting that the “vast majority” of the witness’s corroborating testimony did conform to the victim’s testimony, the court held that the other witness’s testimony was sufficiently similar to the victim’s and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting it for corroborative purposes. Assuming arguendo that it was error, it was not prejudicial, since other witnesses also testified to corroboration that more closely tracked the victim’s trial testimony. Therefore, the defendant did not show there was a reasonable possibility the jury would have evaluated the victim’s credibility differently without this particular witness’s corroboration.