from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, Christopher
C. Foy, Judge.
Robert Tournier appeals his convictions for second degree
sexual abuse of a child under the age of twelve.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Brenda J. Gohr,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
Robert Tournier's daughter had an older neighborhood
friend who often played at her home. One evening, the friend
told her grandmother that Tournier touched her in her genital
and anal area.
State charged Tournier with two counts of second-degree
sexual abuse of a child under the age of twelve. See
Iowa Code §§ 709.1; 709.3(b) (2016). At a bench
trial, the child, who was in first grade, testified to
Tournier's sex acts. Following trial, the district court
found Tournier guilty of one count involving digital
penetration of the child's vagina and not guilty of the
other count charging a different type of sex act.
moved for a new trial on the ground the finding of guilt was
"contrary to the evidence." Alternatively, he asked
the court to "vacate the judgment, . . . take additional
testimony, and amend its findings of fact." The district
court denied Tournier's new trial motion and his request
to vacate the judgment. The court imposed judgment and
sentence, including a fee for room and board at the county
appeal, Tournier argues (1) the district court abused its
discretion in declining to grant him a new trial and in
refusing to set aside the finding of guilt and receive
further testimony and (2) the district court erred in
imposing the jail fee without first determining the amount of
New Trial Motion/Vacating of Judgment
support of his new trial motion, Tournier argued the
child's testimony was "clearly inconsistent with
statements made prior to trial." In ruling on the
motion, the district court acknowledged that "certain
aspects of [the child's] trial testimony" did not
"match precisely with . . . statements she had made to
other people involved." But, in the court's view,
"[a]ny distinctions between her trial testimony and what
she had told other people" were "pretty much
details" that could "certainly be . . . expected
when . . . a child that age is being asked to recount events
that took place . . . at least . . . ten months . . . after
the fact." The court noted that the child's
"initial report was made . . . immediately upon her
return to her grandparents' home that evening." The
court found the child was "consistent about . . . the
digital or the finger and hand contact . . . Mr. Tournier had
with her vagina."
the court found "the statements and the conduct of . . .
Mr. Tournier . . . were also . . . [a] strong indicator of
guilt." The court explained, "some of . . . the
comments that Mr. Tournier had made to others about this . .
. indicated a knowledge of what had actually taken place that
. . . he would not have had if the events hadn't
court also assessed the credibility of other witnesses,
expressing a lack of conviction that Tournier's young
daughter "would have necessarily been old enough to
really understand or . . . alert others . . . to what she was
observing." And the court explained "there was a