from the Iowa District Court for Henry County, Michael J.
challenges his conviction and sentence for sexual abuse in
the third degree. AFFIRMED.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Mary K. Conroy,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl A. Soich, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
Sinn appeals his conviction for sexual abuse in the third
degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.4 (2016). Sinn
raises two arguments on appeal. He contends the district
court erred in declining to give his requested spoliation
instruction. He also argues there is insufficient evidence to
support his conviction.
August 2016, Sinn was temporarily staying with C.W., his
former partner and mother of his seventeen-year-old daughter
S.S. During his stay with C.W., Sinn repeatedly propositioned
C.W. for fellatio and sexual intercourse. On one occasion, he
exposed his penis to her and asked her to perform oral sex.
She declined his repeated advances. On the night of August 4,
C.W. testified she drove Sinn to the bar for drinks because
Sinn was not licensed to drive. While out with Sinn, C.W.
consumed four drinks. C.W. testified she had no recollection
of any events after consuming her last drink until she awoke
and found herself lying on her stomach in a ditch. She
testified her head was inside a metal pipe, it was raining,
she was cold, and she felt pain in her eye and vagina. She
was naked from the waist down-wearing only a shirt but no
underwear, shorts, or shoes. C.W. clawed her way up the muddy
ditch, walked to a nearby home, and banged on the door. The
homeowner answered the door. The homeowner testified C.W. was
hysterical and covered in mud. He called the police. Then he
took C.W. into the bathroom and placed her in the shower
because she was so caked in mud she was having trouble
was taken to the Henry County Health Center. She was treated
and released, but she came back later in the day because she
was having anxiety and suffering pain in her ribs. The
examining physician testified C.W. had suffered trauma to her
face and head. Her eye was bruised and almost swollen shut.
C.W. had scratches and abrasions on her lower extremities.
C.W. reported pain in her vaginal area. The physician noted
an area of abrasion on the vaginal introitus that appeared to
be recent. The physician completed a rape kit. There was no
semen detected. The doctor believed C.W. had been assaulted
with possible penetration of the vagina. Bloodwork tested
positive for the presence of alcohol and marijuana but no
Sinn and C.W.'s daughter, was living with Teresa Roberts,
C.W.'s neighbor. S.S. testified when she got home from
work, Sinn was at Roberts' house. He was nervous and
soaking wet. He told S.S. four different versions of the
events of the evening, but all of the versions ended with
C.W. being left in the ditch because, according to Sinn, C.W.
got out of the car and refused to get back in. Nonetheless,
S.S. did not go search for C.W., concluding her mother would
call if she needed help. S.S. testified Sinn later asked her
"if Mom had a black eye, " which caused S.S. to
grow concerned. S.S. testified she saw Sinn with a little
blue pill earlier in the day. He called the pill "his
testified Sinn woke her up that evening around 11 p.m. He was
wet and pacing. He told her he was with C.W. and C.W. had
gotten out of the car to vomit. Sinn told Roberts C.W. would
not get back in the car so he left C.W. in a ditch. He told
Roberts C.W. did not have her phone because it was in his
car. He also told Roberts he saw C.W. "being
handsy" with a man at the bar earlier in the evening and
appeared upset by this. Roberts gathered up a friend of her
son and went to go look for C.W. They looked for
approximately one hour, but they did not find her.
London Assistant Chief of Police Brandon Fowler spoke with
Sinn on the night in question. Officer Fowler initially went
to C.W.'s residence to conduct a welfare check on
C.W.'s ten-year-old son, who was at home alone. After
speaking to C.W.'s son, Fowler went to Roberts' house
to ask her some questions. Fowler learned Sinn was at
Roberts' house, and he asked for Sinn to come outside and
speak with him. Sinn did, and Fowler asked him where he had
been and with whom. Fowler testified Sinn kept asking over
and over again if C.W. was all right and repeating "he
hoped he wasn't in any trouble for this." Sinn told
Fowler C.W. had gotten drunk and performed oral sex on him
while Sinn drove around. Sinn told Officer Fowler C.W. exited
the car after the two fought and fell down "like three
different times." Fowler testified Sinn told him he
tried helping C.W. into the car but could not so he left her
there to try and get help. At this time, Fowler had not yet
told Sinn C.W. was found and at the health center.
County Deputy Sheriff Jesse Bell also interviewed Sinn on the
night in question. Deputy Bell had been at the health center
with C.W., but he left when he learned Fowler had located
Sinn at Roberts' house. Sinn initially told Deputy Bell
C.W. left the bar with another man. Sinn told the deputy he
got a ride home with a cousin. Deputy Bell told Sinn he
believed C.W.'s phone was in Sinn's car, and Bell
asked if they could retrieve it. Sinn consented. The deputy
observed a brown sandal on the passenger floorboard. Sinn
located the matching sandal and C.W.'s phone in the
backseat and gave them to Deputy Bell. The phone had mud
stuck to it. The deputy walked around the vehicle and shined
his flashlight through the window. He observed jean shorts on
the driver's side in the backseat. Sinn consented to the
deputy taking the shorts out of the vehicle. The shorts were
wet and muddy. Sinn told Deputy Bell the shorts belonged to
him and the shorts were wet and muddy because Sinn had fallen
down while wearing them. The shorts were women's shorts,
and the deputy concluded the car was part of the crime scene
and secured the vehicle to be searched pursuant to a warrant.
Upon searching the ...