Heard: March 6, 2017.
found and returned in the Superior Court Department on May
cases were tried before Kenneth W. Salinger, J.
Larmon White, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the
Jessica Langsam, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Carhart, Massing, & Lemire, JJ. 
defendant was convicted of two counts of rape and abuse of a
child under sixteen years of age, aggravated by an age
difference of ten years or more, see G. L. c. 265, §
23A(b), two counts of rape of a child by force, G. L. c. 265,
§ 22A, and one count of enticement of a child, G. L. c.
265, § 26C. The charges arose from a single incident
involving a twelve year old girl. The only evidence of the
crime was the testimony of the child, who was fifteen years
old at the time of trial. At issue is the judge's
decision to admit the testimony of the child's
"therapeutic mentor" that the child lacked the
ability to engage in "imagination play." We
conclude that the testimony was improperly admitted to prove
that the child was incapable of telling lies and that its use
for this purpose was prejudicial, warranting a new trial.
the child was twelve years old she lived next door to the
defendant, whom she called "Pachoo." The defendant
lived with Chrissy, who was a friend of the child's
mother, and Chrissy's three children, two of whom were
younger than the child. The defendant was Chrissy's boy
friend and was fifty-five years old at the time.
to the child, one night she went next door to babysit for
Chrissy's two younger children while Chrissy went out to
play bingo. The child had just finished using the upstairs
bathroom when the defendant called her into Chrissy's
bedroom. The defendant pushed her onto the bed, took off her
pants and underwear, got on top of her, and "sticked his
dick in [her] vagina." At some point he stopped, and the
child put her underwear and pants back on. Then the defendant
put his hand underneath her clothes and put his finger inside
this, the two of them went downstairs to the parlor, sat on
the couch, and watched television. The child testified that
the defendant grabbed her hand and "tried to make [her]
touch his dick, " but she did not actually touch him.
The child did not remember where Chrissy's children were
during these events. When Chrissy returned, the child went
back home without saying anything to anyone.
The child's ...