Sexual battery conviction will stand: 10-year-old was assaulted during outdoor sleepover

Published 6:56 am Saturday, September 16, 2023

The conviction of a Cameron man serving a 30-year sentence for the sexual battery of a 10-year-old girl will stand.

Donivyn Scott Cormier was convicted in 2022 of molesting the girl while she was at a 2019 sleepover in a tent outdoors. According to court testimony, Cormier put his hand in her pants, touched her privates and then molested her. The following morning, the girl told her mother — and said it wasn’t the first time.

Earlier that year, the girl said Cormier had taken her shirt off, put his hand in her pants and touched her privates despite her repeatedly telling him to stop.

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“When he did stop, he told her he would make sure she got in trouble if she told anyone,” the girl’s mother testified.

The mother said after the attack, her daughter began isolating herself and would often not eat.

The girl testified when she arrived at the slumber party, Cormier “picked her up and gave her a hug,” his hand “groping her butt.” Later that night, she said Cormier massaged her shoulders, then moved his hands up and down her sides. When he laid down next to her and closed her eyes, she turned her back to him at which point she said he pulled her toward him and turned her on her back while whispering he wanted to “start a family” with her. She said when it was over, he tried to hug her and told her he was “sorry.”

A unanimous jury found Cormier guilty of sexual battery and he was sentenced to 30 years at hard labor with five years suspended in lieu of three year of supervised probation. The remaining 25 years are to be served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Upon release, Cormier was ordered to pay $150 to the Department of Probation and Parole to help defray the cost of conducting the pre-sentence investigation. Additionally, he was ordered to pay a $60 per month supervision fee and an $11 monthly technology fund fee.

Cormier appealed his conviction, claiming the trial court erred in allowing witness testimony into evidence from a child forensic interviewer who said she believed the victim was being truthful. He also said the trial court “abused its discretion” when it denied the defense’s challenge for cause regarding a prospective juror after counsel had exhausted all of his peremptory challenges.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal denied Cormier’s first claim, stating the defense did not object to the testimony and his claim that the court should have ordered a mistrial  lacks merit. The court also found it could not rule the trial court erred in finding the juror — who said she had been a victim of assault but said had been in counseling and would not let her emotions affect her ability to evaluate the evidence — was “sufficiently rehabilitated” and that the assignment of error also lacked merit.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal did, however, vacate the financial obligations imposed on Cormier because no “notice” issue presented in the case as to the conditions of his probation. The case has been remanded to the trial court for compliance.