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State v. Anderson

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 21, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JEREMY ALLAN ANDERSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Kellyann M. Lekar, Judge.

         Jeremy Anderson appeals his conviction for second-degree sexual abuse.

          Benjamin J. Bragg of Bragg Law Firm, West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Zachary C. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         Jeremy Anderson appeals his conviction for second-degree sexual abuse, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.3 (2014). He contends the district court erred in allowing two hearsay statements, and there is insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction. The court did not err in concluding the statements fell within hearsay exceptions, and there is substantial evidence supporting the conviction. We therefore affirm.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings.

         Anderson and his then-fiancée were caring for a neighbor's two children on the afternoon of July 14, 2014. The fiancée went into a back bedroom to console one of the children, leaving Anderson and six-year-old A.F. alone in the living room. When the fiancée returned to the living room, Anderson was sitting cross-legged on the floor facing a cross-legged A.F. The three continued to watch a movie. The children's mother returned about two hours later.

         About three hours after the mother's return, A.F. was preparing for a bath and came to her mother crying. A.F. told her mother Anderson "stuck his finger" in her "pee-pee." The mother got the girl dressed and took her to the emergency room (ER) to be examined.

         At the ER, A.F. was examined by Nurse Practitioner Leeann Hoodjer. Upon visual examination, Hoodjer noted A.F. had two abrasions or scratches at the vaginal opening, which she classified as consistent with a scratch from a fingernail.

         On August 7, 2014, Waterloo Police Department Investigator Brice Lippert contacted Anderson and his fiancée and asked them come to the Waterloo Police Department to answer questions. Anderson agreed to speak with the investigator and, over the course of his interview, Anderson's statements changed. Anderson first unequivocally denied any inappropriate contact with A.F. Later, he stated that if any touching occurred, it was accidental. Eventually, Anderson stated he and A.F. were on the floor wrestling when his hand slipped all the way down her pants and he did touch her vagina underneath her underwear.

         Anderson was charged with second-degree sexual abuse. At the bench trial held on July 27 and August 5, 2016, A.F.-now eight years old-was asked if she knew why she was there. She responded, "Because a long time ago, something happened. . . . I got hurt." She testified she was sitting on the couch when Anderson's fiancée left the room to care for A.F.'s crying sibling. Anderson then came over to A.F. and started to tickle her. They fell off the couch and she was lying on top of Anderson. He continued to tickle her. She also testified:

Q. When you say privates, what do you mean?
A. My pee-pee.
Q. And what comes out of your pee-pee?
A. Um, pee, and it burnt when I went to the bathroom because it was red.
Q. So he touched your pee-pee, not inside of it, but with-
A. Yeah.
. . . .
Q. What did he touch your pee-pee with?
A. His hand. His nail.
Q. So he-he touched it with his fingernail?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. Is that a yes?
A. Yes.
Q. Did he scratch you with his fingernail?
A. Yes.
Q. Did it hurt when he scratched you? Is that a yes?
A. Yes. After a couple minutes later, my mom came home and I told her.
Q. Okay. Now, when [Anderson] was touching your pee-pee, did you say anything to him?
A. I telled him to stop.
Q. You told him to stop?
A. Or quit tickling me, I think, and I think that's all that he did to me. I'm not sure-I think then we went downstairs. [My sister] took a short nap and then she woke up and we ...

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