review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, John D.
Telleen (trial) and Patrick A. McElyea (sentencing), Judges.
Walker appeals his conviction for sexual abuse in the second
degree and lascivious acts with a child. DECISION OF
COURT OF APPEALS AND JUDGMENT OF DISTRICT COURT
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender (until withdrawal), and
Nan Jennisch, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, Mike Walton, County Attorney, and Kimberly
Shepherd, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
a jury trial, Lawrence Walker was convicted of sexual abuse
in the second degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.3
(2016), and lascivious acts with a child, in violation of
Iowa Code section 709.8(1)(a) and (c). In
this direct appeal, Walker raises three evidentiary issues.
The first relates to the exclusion of evidence. The second
relates to the allegedly erroneous admission of certain
hearsay testimony. The third also relates to the allegedly
erroneous admission of certain hearsay testimony, but the
third issue is raised within the framework of a claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel.
offense conduct occurred in June 2016. On the night at issue,
Walker babysat his four-year-old niece, E.W., her
eight-year-old brother, J.W., and another child. At some
point in the evening, Walker took E.W. upstairs to her
parents' bedroom. He cuddled in bed with her. He removed
her underwear, removed his pants, put her on his lap, bounced
her up and down, and rubbed the child's genitals with his
next day E.W. made statements to her mother that prompted an
emergency room visit. At the emergency room, sexual assault
nurse examiner Elsa Durr-Baxter interviewed E.W. and
E.W.'s mother separately. E.W.'s statements to
Durr-Baxter inculpated Walker for sexual abuse of E.W.
Durr-Baxter conducted a physical and forensic examination of
E.W. Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) tests of the
samples showed the presence of a sperm cell in E.W.'s
external anal swab and foreign DNA in the crotch of
E.W.'s underwear and on her back. The samples were too
weak for reliable comparison to an individual for matching
referred E.W. to Dr. Barbara Harre, a physician at the Child
Protection Response Center. A little more than two weeks
after the night at issue, Dr. Harre met with E.W. and her
mother. Dr. Harre interviewed them separately. Dr. Harre
conducted a medical exam of E.W. During the exam, E.W. made
statements inculpating Walker for sexual abuse. Dr. Harre
testified she asked E.W. if there had been anything about
Walker that made her uncomfortable. E.W. stated, "Larry
doing this" and then made a bouncing motion. E.W. stated
Walker's underwear was off and he took her underwear off.
Dr. Harre testified E.W. said she was "on his
crotch" at that time. Dr. Harre asked E.W. if Walker
touched her on other parts of her body. E.W. indicated Walker
touched her with his fingers between her legs and it hurt.
a week after E.W's appointment with Dr. Harre, Detective
Maureen Hammes conducted a video-recorded interview with
Walker. Walker initially denied any wrongdoing, but then he
admitted to the offense conduct. Walker admitted to taking
E.W. upstairs and laying in bed with her. He said he took off
her panties and took off his pants. He said he "cuddled
with her." He later admitted he put E.W. on his lap
while in the bed. He admitted to rubbing his hand against
E.W.'s vagina. Walker was arrested and charged
jury found Walker guilty as charged, and Walker timely filed
this appeal. The court of appeals affirmed Walker's
convictions, and we granted Walker's application for
to Walker's first evidentiary challenge. At trial, Walker
sought to admit evidence concerning the victim's
eight-year-old brother, J.W. Specifically, Walker wanted to
introduce into evidence statements the parents allegedly made
that J.W. may have been a victim of sexual abuse. According
to defense counsel, the mother also stated that she observed
J.W. "engaged in staring at E.W.'s body," that
she wanted the siblings clothed when they were together, and
that she "found it necessary to separate" them.
Walker contended the evidence was relevant to show E.W.
learned age-inappropriate sexual information from J.W. or
J.W.- rather than Walker-was the abuser. The State moved in
limine to exclude the evidence. The district court granted
the State's motion, concluding the evidence was not