from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Jeffrey L.
Garduno-Rodriguez appeals from his conviction for
second-degree sexual abuse. AFFIRMED.
O. Campbell of TLN Law LLC, Omaha, Nebraska, and Chinedu I.
Igbokwe of Banwo & Igbokwe Law Firm, Omaha, Nebraska, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Sheryl A. Soich, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
Garduno-Rodriguez (Garduno) appeals from his conviction for
second-degree sexual abuse, which arose from allegations by
N.C. that when Garduno was fourteen years old, he sexually
abused then seven-year-old N.C., for whom Garduno's
mother provided childcare. N.C. reported the alleged abuse
some three years later. Garduno challenges the sufficiency of
the evidence and the trial court's denial of his motion
for new trial on grounds the verdict is against the weight of
the evidence. Garduno complains this is a "simple he
said she said matter" and his denials should outweigh
N.C. 's inconsistent accusations.
review a challenge to the sufficiency of evidence for
correction of errors at law. State v. Howse, 875
N.W.2d 684, 688 (Iowa 2016). "We review a trial
court's findings in a jury-waived case as we would a jury
verdict: If the verdict is supported by substantial evidence,
we will affirm." State v. Weaver, 608 N.W.2d
797, 803 (Iowa 2000). We "consider all of the record
evidence viewed in the light most favorable to the State,
including all reasonable inferences that may be fairly drawn
from the evidence." State v. Showens, 845
N.W.2d 436, 439-40 (Iowa 2014) (citation omitted).
"Evidence is substantial when 'a rational trier of
fact could conceivably find the defendant guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt.'" Howse, 875 N.W.2d at
688 (citation omitted).
convict Garduno of second-degree sexual abuse, the State was
required to prove: (1) that between January 1, 2011, and
January 1, 2012, Garduno performed a sex act on N.C., and (2)
Garduno performed the sex act while N.C. was under the age of
twelve. See Iowa Code § 709.3(1) (2017). A
"sex act" includes sexual contact between the
finger or hand of one person and the genitals of another
person. See id. § 702.17(3).
trial, N.C. explained that she attended childcare before and
after school at Garduno's residence. She testified that
she would arrive early in the morning and would go to lie
down on one of the couches in the living room. Garduno would
come out of his room, stand or kneel over her, and touch her
vagina and breasts under her clothes as she lay on the couch.
N.C. testified Garduno would touch her almost every day,
always for just a few minutes and while the others in the
trailer were still asleep. She also stated Garduno would
threaten to kill her family if she told anyone what he had
done. Although N.C. initially said at a deposition that
Garduno inserted his finger into her vagina, she testified at
trial that she remembered he touched and rubbed her vagina
but did not penetrate it with his hand. She demonstrated on a
doll the way in which Garduno would slip his hand down inside
the top of her pants or up through a leg opening in her
clothing. She described all three of the childcare
giver's sons and stated she had no doubt Garduno was the
person who touched her.
's mother testified that N.C. attended daycare at
Garduno's mother's trailer home for about eight
months, from October 2011 to May 2012. She stated that after
about three months, N.C. became a less happy child, had
instances of nightmares and bedwetting, started to scratch
herself, resisted going to childcare, and displayed different
behaviors at school. N.C. 's mother also testified that
after she would get N.C. dressed in the morning, N.C. would
put on a second pair of underwear over those her mother had
put on her.
testified on his own behalf, denying the allegations. He
testified he was asleep in the mornings when the daycare
children arrived, and he often overslept, requiring his
mother to drive him to school because he missed his bus.
Garduno stated he remembered N.C. and did not like her
because she screamed too much.
defense also presented the testimony of three of the mothers
of other children who were cared for by Garduno's
mother and one child that attended the
daycare-all stated that many children were present
and awake mornings at the home, none observed Garduno
trial court found Garduno guilty of second-degree sexual
abuse. Written findings were filed, and the court ...