Rape 4th (F) RKl5-02-0039-01 Cont Sex Abuse (F)
Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief Pursuant to
Superior Court Criminal Rule 61
Puryear, Pro se.
COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M Freud, Commissioner
defendant, Robert Puryear ("Puryear"), pled guilty
the day his trial was scheduled to begin on October 5, 2015
to one count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, 11
Del. C. § 776, and one count of Rape Fourth
Degree, 11 Del. C. § 770. He was also facing
one count of Rape in the Second Degree without Consent, five
counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact Victim under 13 years old,
and Unlawful Sexual Contact in the Second Degree. In exchange
for the plea, nolle prosequis were entered by the
State on the additional charges. A presentence investigation
report was ordered. On December 16, 2015 Puryear was
sentenced to a total of forty years incarceration suspended
after serving four years and six months at Level V, two of
which were minimum mandatory for varying levels of probation.
Puryear did not appeal his conviction or sentence to the
Delaware Supreme Court. Instead on April 27, 2016 he filed a
nonconforming motion for postconviction relief pursuant to
Superior Court Criminal Rule 61. The motion was rejected.
Subsequently Puryear filed a conforming Rule 61 motion for
postconviction relief on November 21, 2016.
October 4, 2014, the Delaware State Police began an
investigation into alleged sexual molestation by Puryear. The
report of the investigation is attached to the State's
response (Exhibit A). The report recounts that the initial
investigating officer was told by the victim that Puryear,
who had recently moved into her home, had physically and
sexually abused her. Three days later, on October 7, 2014,
Detective Surowiec of Delaware State Police's Major
Crimes Division began his investigation. At this point, the
victim's mother had been notified of the allegations
against Puryear and had agreed to remove him from her home.
When Det. Surowiec spoke with the victim's mother on
October 8, the mother reported that the victim "told her
counselor that she fabricated the sexual assault
allegations." Two days later the victim was interviewed
at the Children's Advocacy Center by forensic interviewer
Cynthia Vollmer. During this interview, the victim disclosed
that the sexual abuse by Puryear began when she was 10 or 11
years old and living in Whispering Pines, a manufactured
homes community in Dover, Delaware. The detective confirmed
that the victim, her mother and Puryear lived in this
community at the same time. The victim recounted that other
instances of sexual assault occurred while she lived at that
location. Furthermore, the victim reported that Puryear
assaulted her at her new address on South Governor's
Avenue in Dover starting when she was 13 years old. She
described the defendant digitally penetrating her vagina and
engaging in penile-vaginal sexual intercourse. The victim
also described Puryear groping her whenever he felt like it.
The victim could not state when the abuse ended but told the
interviewer that she had not seen Puryear for a year until he
returned in October 2014.
Surowiec interviewed Puryear on October 15, 2014. Puryear
denied any illegal behavior but consented to a polygraph
examination. After the polygraph examination on October 29,
2014, Det. Surowiec again interviewed Puryear. During this
interview, Puryear stated: "I did touch Nicole." He
admitted that the abuse started at the victim's previous
home in 2007 when she was 8 years-old. He also admitted to
touching the victim's vagina at her new residence.
Eventually, Puryear admitted that he put his penis into the
was arrested after his interview. He was indicted on February
2, 2015 and charged as noted above. The State provided
initial discovery to defense counsel on January 26, 2015,
including police reports and recordings of Puryear's
statements to the police (Exhibit A). On March 12, 2015, the
State provided the defense with redacted copies of the
victim's Department of Family Services file (Exhibit
On October 2, 2015 the defense was provided the transcripts
of the victim's and Puryear's statements (Exhibit
motion, Puryear raises the following grounds for relief:
Ground one: Puryear claims that "newly discovered"
evidence concerning the victim's alleged
"recantation" found in the police report and his
counsel's failure to notice this is grounds for relief.
Ground two: Puryear argues the Court "sabotaged"
his initial Rule 61 filing by not accepting his ...