from the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County, Bradley J.
appeals his convictions and sentences for sexual abuse in the
second degree and sexual abuse in the third degree.
Clemens A. Erdahl II of Nidey Erdahl Fisher Pilkington &
Meier, P.L.C., Cedar Rapids, and Eric D. Tindal of Keegan and
Farnsworth, Iowa City, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., McDonald, J., and Blane,
Jarrett appeals his convictions and sentences for sexual
abuse in the second degree and sexual abuse in the third
degree, following a jury trial and guilty
verdicts. He asserts the trial court erred (1) in
denying admission of the video-recorded interview of the
complaining witness; (2) in failing to grant his motion for
judgment of acquittal based upon insufficient evidence and
lack of corroboration of the victim's sexual assault
testimony; (3) in incorrect evidentiary rulings, which denied
him the opportunity to present his theory of defense; and (4)
in failing to grant his objections during closing arguments
that the prosecutor engaged in a Graves violation by
placing the burden on Jarrett to prove the complaining
witness had lied. Based upon our review of these claims, we
find no error and affirm.
September 12, 2014, Jarrett was charged by trial information
with four counts of sexual abuse in the second degree in
violation of Iowa Code sections 709.1 and 709.3(2)
(2014); four counts of sexual abuse in the third
degree in violation of Iowa Code section 709.4(2)(b); and
flight to avoid prosecution in violation of Iowa Code section
719.4(4). Before trial, the State amended the trial
information to allege one count of sexual abuse in the second
degree (count I), one count of sexual abuse in the third
degree (count II), as well as the flight to avoid prosecution
(count III). On October 26, 2015, a jury returned guilty
verdicts as to all three counts submitted to it.
filed a motion for new trial and, following a hearing, the
motion was denied. He was sentenced to twenty-five years on
count I; ten years on count II; and five years on count III.
The court ordered counts I and II to be served consecutively
and count III concurrently with counts I and II. Jarrett then
timely filed a notice of appeal.
was known to Jarrett through H.K.'s mother. H.K.'s
father is deceased; he died when H.K. was six years old.
According to H.K., Jarrett first made her manually stimulate
him shortly after her father's death. H.K. did not tell
her mother about this incident because Jarrett told her not
to. On another occasion, when H.K. was eight years old,
Jarrett made her perform oral sex on him. Again, H.K. did not
disclose the abuse to her mother because Jarrett told H.K.
not to and because she did not want her mother to be upset.
acts that Jarrett made H.K. perform eventually progressed
from manual and oral stimulation to anal and vaginal
intercourse. If H.K. resisted, Jarrett would "be
terrible" to H.K.'s mother afterwards. Jarrett
initiated sexual encounters with H.K. more frequently as she
grew older. At trial, when asked how many times Jarrett had
sexual contact with her, H.K. responded it was "way too
many to count."
H.K. was in fifth grade she was provided a cell phone.
Jarrett began to initiate sexual contact by sending H.K. text
messages after her bedtime. H.K. testified about the content
of the messages, stating they would say, "'Come meet
me after your mom is asleep' or 'Come meet me in the
living room' or 'Come meet me' wherever."
to H.K., one night, when she was fourteen, Jarrett sent her a
text message after her bedtime to "[c]ome get me after
your mother is asleep." H.K.'s mother saw H.K.'s
phone light up when she received that message, and the mother
grabbed the phone from H.K.'s hand. The mother read the
text message, along with all of the other text messages from
Jarrett to H.K. that told her to meet him after bedtime in
various locations. H.K.'s mother and H.K. had a
conversation outside of Jarrett's presence; H.K. told her
mother that "since the age of 6 . . . he would make
[her] have vaginal, anal, and oral sex with him and that he
would make [her] masturbate him." H.K. was crying
throughout her disclosure, and her mother was also upset. The
mother confronted Jarrett. No one reported the abuse.
H.K.'s mother made sure Jarrett was not alone with H.K.,
and Jarrett had no further sexual contact with H.K. from that
reported the sexual abuse to law enforcement in August 2014.
When Jarrett learned that the police were looking for him to
investigate H.K.'s reports of sexual abuse, he fled from
the state-to Kansas, North Carolina, Colorado, and finally
Texas, where he was apprehended.
trial, H.K.'s mother denied that H.K. had disclosed the
sexual abuse when she caught Jarrett sending her the text
message. Even so, she acknowledged that after that incident,
she did not allow Jarrett and H.K. to be alone together.
Jarrett did not deny that he sent the text messages to H.K.
and also did not deny that H.K.'s mother confronted him
about it, but he claimed he told her "it was
nothing" and she should "just let it go."
trial, the defense sought to introduce evidence concerning
H.K. being suicidal and under the influence of drugs and
alcohol when she first told about the sexual abuse. The court
did not allow the evidence on the basis that it was
irrelevant. The defense also attempted to question H.K. about
her false claim to her employer that she had a brain tumor
and needed to visit relatives in Davenport rather than be at
work, but the court sustained the prosecution's objection
and disallowed the question.
the State's closing and rebuttal arguments, defense
counsel objected that the prosecutor was violating the
Graves case and shifting the burden of proof to
Jarrett. The court overruled the objections. The defense
raised the issues again in its motion for new trial, which
the court denied.
facts will be discussed when relevant.
Whether the trial court erred in denying admission of the
previously video-recorded interview of H.K.?
2010, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS)
investigated a report by a female juvenile regarding sexual
abuse by Jarrett. Arising out of this investigation, in
January 2011, the Child Protective Center (CPC) conducted a
video-recorded interview with H.K. During the interview,
H.K., who was fourteen years old at that time, denied any
sexual abuse by Jarrett. H.K. testified at Jarrett's
trial during the State's case-in-chief and described the
years of sexual abuse by Jarrett. Jarrett's defense