State v. Pierce, 238 N.C. App. 537 (Dec. 31, 2014)

With respect to a sexual offense charge allegedly committed on Melissa in Burke County, the court held that the State failed to present substantial evidence that a sexual act occurred. The only evidence presented by the State regarding a sexual act that occurred was Melissa’s testimony that the defendant placed his finger inside her vagina. However, this evidence was not admitted as substantive evidence. The State presented specific evidence that the defendant performed oral sex on Melissa—a sexual act under the statute--but that act occurred in Caldwell County, not Burke. Although Melissa also testified generally that she was "sexually assaulted" more than 10 times, presumably in Burke County, nothing in her testimony clarified whether the phrase "sexual assault," referred to sexual acts within the meaning of G.S. 14-27.4A, vaginal intercourse, or acts amounting only to indecent liberties with a child. Thus, the court concluded the evidence is insufficient to support the Burke County sexual offense conviction.