Providence County Superior Court (P1/13-2349A) Brian Van
Couyghen, Associate Justice
State: Christopher R. Bush Department of Attorney General
Defendant: Melissa Larsen, Esq. Edward C. Roy, Jr., Esq.
James E. O'Neil, Esq.
Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and
Gilbert V. Indeglia, Associate Justice
Indeglia, for the Court. The state appeals a Providence
County Superior Court justice's decision granting a
motion to suppress brought by the defendant, Marc Gouin
(Gouin or defendant). The defendant was indicted by a grand
jury on four counts of child molestation. Prior to trial, he
moved to suppress statements he made to a Massachusetts
Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigator on
grounds that he had rendered the statements involuntarily.
The hearing justice granted his motion, and the state
appealed as allowed by G.L. 1956 § 9-24-32. For the
reasons set forth herein, we vacate the decision of the
August 2013, a grand jury indicted defendant on two counts of
first-degree child molestation sexual assault and two counts
of second-degree child molestation sexual assault, in
violation of G.L. 1956 §§ 11-37-8.1 and 11-37-8.3.
The complaining witness, defendant's niece Emma,
alleged that in 2005 defendant had sexually abused her. On
December 7, 2015, in advance of trial, defendant moved to
suppress statements that he made to Kristin Prescott, a DCF
investigator, during a July 11, 2012 interview at his
home. The hearing justice conducted an
evidentiary hearing on the motion on January 19, 2016.
motion to suppress hearing, Prescott testified for the state.
Prescott had worked for DCF at its office in Taunton,
Massachusetts, as an investigator for eighteen years. In that
role, she probed abuse and neglect allegations to ascertain
their veracity. In 2012, she began investigating defendant.
testified that DCF had received a report from a mandated
reporter stating that Emma revealed during a July
9, 2012 SAIN interview that she had been sexually abused by
defendant, as well as by her father. According to Prescott,
Emma told the mandated reporter specifically that defendant
"had touched her in her vaginal area under her
underwear, " that he had "'put his thing in her
mouth' on more than one occasion, " and that
"he would touch himself while he was touching her,
things of that nature."
defendant also had a stepdaughter, Marie. During the SAIN
interview, Emma indicated that Marie's daughter, Olivia,
lived with defendant, and Emma was concerned for Olivia's
interview resulted in the preparation of a
report implicating defendant, and imposed an
obligation on DCF to investigate her accusations. Prescott
alerted law enforcement to Emma's allegations against
defendant and her father; and, on July 10, 2012, Prescott
made an unannounced visit to defendant's Seekonk,
Massachusetts home. The defendant was not home, and Prescott
scheduled a visit with him through Michelle
Gouin-defendant's wife-for July 11, the following
Prescott testified that, during that July 10 conversation,
when she informed Michelle of Emma's claims, Michelle
became upset and "told [her] this [was] something that
happened a long time ago * * *."
to the July 11 interview, Prescott contacted the East
Providence and Seekonk police departments to obtain the 2005
records of the accusations against defendant. She received
East Providence police reports regarding defendant the
morning of the interview and attempted to contact a detective
there, but was unsuccessful. Prescott testified that neither
the East Providence nor the Seekonk police instructed her to
speak with defendant.
11, 2012, Prescott went to defendant's home for the
scheduled visit. The purpose of the visit, she testified, was
to assess Olivia's safety in the home. Once there,
Prescott spoke with Marie before speaking with defendant and
Michelle. Prescott characterized defendant and Michelle as
intelligent people without any apparent cognitive ...