State v. McLaughlin, 246 N.C. App. 306 (Mar. 15, 2016)

In this child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by admitting the victim’s statements to his mother under the excited utterance exception. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that a 10-day gap between the last incident of sexual abuse and the victim’s statements to his mother put them outside the scope of this exception. The victim made the statements immediately upon returning home from a trip to Florida; his mother testified that when the victim arrived home with the defendant, he came into the house “frantically” and was “shaking” while telling her that she had to call the police. The court noted that greater leeway with respect to timing is afforded to young victims and that the victim in this case was 15 years old. However it concluded: “while this victim was fifteen rather than four or five years of age, he was nevertheless a minor and that fact should not be disregarded in the analysis.” The court also rejected the defendant’s argument that because the victim had first tried to communicate with his father by email about the abuse, his later statements to his mother should not be considered excited utterances.