from Madison Circuit Court (CC-17-1436)
Lee Black appeals his conviction for first-degree rape, a
violation of § 13A-6-61, Ala. Code 1975; his conviction
for first-degree sodomy, a violation of § 13A-6-63, Ala.
Code 1975; and his two convictions for first-degree sexual
abuse, a violation of § 13A-6-66, Ala. Code 1975. The
trial court sentenced Black to 20 years' imprisonment for
the rape conviction, 20 years' imprisonment for the
sodomy conviction, and 5 years' imprisonment for each of
the sexual-abuse convictions, the sentences to run
and Procedural History
evidence at trial established the following facts. In 2008,
Black moved into the house where D.K. lived with his wife,
L.K., and their daughters, M.E.K. and M.K.; at that time,
Black was in his "late 30s" (R. 189), and M.E.K.
and M.K. were 12 and 10 years of age,
respectively. The testimony was inconsistent as to how
and why Black came to live with D.K. and his family, but it
appears that L.K. met Black "[t]hrough the
internet" (R. 394) and subsequently arranged for him to
move into the family's house to "help her run"
the grocery store she owned (R. 188) and to serve as "a
handyman around the house." (R. 246.) D.K. testified
that "everyone seemed to get along with [Black]"
(R. 189) and "trusted him and treated him as one of the
family." (R. 190). In fact, D.K. testified that he
"grew to love [Black] like a brother" (R. 189) and
that Black was eventually entrusted with some responsibility
for supervising M.E.K. and M.K., including "dropp[ing]
the girls off at school, pick[ing] them up, things like
that." (R. 190.) D.K. also testified that, on multiple
occasions, Black traveled on overnight trips with L.K.,
M.E.K., and M.K., and evidence established that, on one
occasion, D.K. and L.K. allowed Black to take M.K. and M.E.K.
to Perdido Key for spring break. In short, D.K. responded
affirmatively when asked if Black was "like another
parental figure" for M.E.K. and M.K. (R. 190.)
testified that, when Black first moved into her family's
house, she "avoided him because he was a stranger"
but that she "had to call [Black] Uncle ... [b]ecause
[L.K.] said so." (R. 242.) However, M.K. testified that,
after Black had been living in the family's house
approximately one year, "everyone else trusted him, so
[she] didn't see a reason to avoid him and be afraid of
him." (R. 243.) In fact, it was undisputed that, at some
point after Black moved into the family's house, M.E.K.
and M.K. began sleeping in Black's bedroom because, D.K.
testified, "they didn't like sleeping alone."
(R. 194.) M.K. testified that she began spending
"one-on-one" time with Black at that point because
her family "pretty much ignored her ..., and [she] was
just kind of a clingy youngest child." (R. 244.)
According to M.K., she and Black "would pretty much do
anything, like go out to eat, sleep in the same bed together,
watch movies, like anything that a couple would do." (R.
243-44.) In fact, M.K. testified that Black "referred to
[her] as his wife on occasion" and that he was
"excited for [her] to turn 18" so that he and she
"could go across state lines and maybe get married some
day." (R. 252.) However, despite Black's perception
of his relationship with M.K., M.K. testified that she
considered Black to be an authority figure (R. 246), that
L.K. had instructed her to obey Black (R. 247), that she
"obeyed [Black] more than [she] obeyed [L.K.]" (R.
320), and that L.K. would "very angrily" instruct
her to apologize to Black "every time [M.K.] would make
him upset." (R. 247.) M.E.K. also testified that Black
"was someone that was deemed like an authority
figure" in the family's house. (R. 352.)
M.K. was 17 years of age, she reported to a social worker at
her high school that Black had repeatedly sexually assaulted
her from the time she was 11 years of age. Regarding the
circumstances under which those sexual assaults occurred,
"Q. Let's start at the beginning. What's the
first thing that [Black] did that you felt, at least looking
back on, was abusive, the very first thing?
"A. Well, he would -- we were laying on his bed, and I
was not wearing a bra. I believe I was either 11 or 12. He
just reaches over and, like, squeezes my breast for some
"Q. After that time when he grabbed your breast in his
bed, what was the next thing that happened that you remember?
"A. He got really upset about something. We were home
alone. He kept threatening to leave. I was terrified because
I didn't want to get in trouble because, I guess, I did
something to make him upset. So then he was like, 'Tell
me you love me.' I was like, 'I love you.' He was
like, 'Give me a kiss,' so I kissed him on the cheek.
He wasn't satisfied, so he grabbed my head and planted a
kiss on my lips, and I started sobbing really hard. That made
him stay, but he was irritated that I wasn't happy with
"Q. How old were you when that happened?
"Q. Going back to that time that he grabbed your breast
on the bed, ... [h]ow did that make you feel when he grabbed
"Q. What did you do afterwards?
"A. I felt like I could control it in the future if
maybe I told him we couldn't hug anymore from the front.
"Q. Did you make a decision not to hug him from the
front anymore then?
"A. Yes, but then it just gradually ended up happening
"Q. After that time ... that he kissed you against your
will, what was the next thing that happened?
"A. We would just be laying in bed together, and he used
to hold me from behind because I was, for some reason,
terrified of the dark and being alone, so I liked the
security. At first it was fine, but then he made it only an
opportunity to rub his penis against my behind with his
"Q. When you say he held you from behind, were you --
"A. It was like spooning.
"Q. Did this happen one time or more than one time?
"A. More than once.
"Q. How old were you the first time it happened?
"Q. How old were you the last time it happened?
"Q. What was the next thing that you remember after
[Black] pressing up against you in the bed?
"A. He would make me touch his genitals over his
clothes. Then, after that, he would be like, 'Put your
hand inside,' and I really didn't want to, and I just
kept saying that. He was like, 'Do it for me.'
"Q. Was that one time or more than one time?
"A. More than one time.
"Q. How old were you the first time it happened?
"Q. How old were you the last time that he made you
touch his genitals over his clothes?
"A. I guess 16.
"Q. When [you] said he made you touch him, what part of
your body did he make you touch him with?
"A. My hands.
"Q. You said that eventually he told you to touch him
under his clothes?
"Q. Do you remember the first time that happened?
"A. I believe I was 14.
"Q. It was your hand?
"Q. What was happening before he made you touch him?
"A. We were just laying there.
"Q. Did he say anything to you?
"A. I don't remember.
"Q. Did you say anything to him?
"Q. How did it come about that your hand was on his
genitals? Did he place your hand there or tell you where to
put your hand?
"A. He placed my hand there.
"Q. About how long did your hands stay on his genitals?
"A. Until it was okay for me ... not to do it, like, he
wouldn't get mad at me if I stopped.
"Q. How would you know that he wouldn't get mad at
you if you stopped?
"A. I would usually just try [to] get away by saying,
'I have to go to the bathroom,' and that would make
him upset, but at least it would make it stop for a minute.
"Q. Do you remember how many times he made you touch his
genitals under his clothes?
"A. No. It was quite a bit.
"Q. I want you to think of a time that ... he made you
touch him under his clothes. Tell me how old you were.
"A. I believe I was either 14 or 15. Me and him would go
to church in the morning at 8:00 a.m., so the rest of the
family would go either in the afternoon or evening, so he
would take that time when they went in the afternoon. We
would go to his bedroom, and we would -- he would pull my
pants down and put me over the edge of the bed and take his
pants down as well and just, like, use my legs that were
pressed together and put his large penis, like -- basically
like scrape it underneath my vagina ....
"Q. ... After the first time that he made you touch his
genitals, what was the next thing that happened between you
that made you uncomfortable?
"A. When I was 15, before he would drop me off at
school, he would penetrate me with his fingers in his bed.
"Q. Was this one time or more than one time?
"A. More than one time.
"Q. Where did he put his finger?
"A. In my vagina.
"Q. What was happening before he did that to you?
"A. We were just lying down; we were laying down in bed.
"Q. Did he say anything when it happened or while he was
"Q. Did you say anything?
"Q. What did you do -- how did it stop? What caused it
to end where he would stop touching you on that occasion?
"A. I guess just getting ...