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Pressler v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 13, 2014

DEAN R. PRESSLER, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

Editorial Note:

These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).

APPEAL FROM THE WHITLEY CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable James R. Heuer, Judge. Cause No. 92C01-1301-FA-10.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ANTHON.Y.S. CHURCHWARD, Deputy Public Defender, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, ANDREW FALK, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

FRIEDLANDER, Judge. KIRSCH, J., and BAILEY, J., concur.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM DECISION - NOT FOR PUBLICATION

FRIEDLANDER, Judge

Dean R. Pressler pleaded guilty to class A felony child molesting, class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor, and class D felony child seduction. On appeal, Pressler challenges the aggregate sixty-year sentence imposed by the trial court, claiming that it is inappropriate in light of the nature of his offenses and his character.

We affirm.

When the victim in this case, M.H., was twelve years old, she and her drug-addicted mother moved in with Pressler. M.H.'s mother had about a two-week relationship with Pressler, following which she moved out and left M.H. in Pressler's care. Shortly after being abandoned by her mother, Pressler began sexually abusing twelve-year-old M.H. on a regular basis. According to the victim, Pressler had sexual intercourse with her thousands of times over the next five years. As a result of the abuse, M.H. gave birth to a child in June 2010 at the age of fourteen and a second child in April 2012 at the age of sixteen.[1] DNA testing later confirmed Pressler's paternity of both children.

M.H. explained that she was scared of Pressler, yet dependent upon him. She described their relationship as like that of a prisoner and warden. In the past, Pressler had secured the home by nailing windows shut and padlocking and tying doors closed. Though she did go to school at times and was allowed to have friends come to the home, Pressler maintained tight controls on M.H. In October 2012, when she was seventeen years old, M.H. finally moved out with the help of a friend.

On December 20, 2012, an inmate at the Whitley County Jail sent a letter to the prosecutor regarding Pressler's relationship with M.H., as well as drug activity at the home. Detectives followed up on this information, and Pressler was arrested the following day on methamphetamine charges. On December 26, the State charged him with class B felony dealing methamphetamine, class D felony possession of precursors, class D felony maintaining a common nuisance, and class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.

While the drug case was pending, detectives interviewed M.H. and obtained other evidence regarding the years of sexual abuse. On January 11, 2003, the State charged Pressler with class A felony child molesting (Count I), class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor (Count II), class D felony child seduction (Count III), and class D felony possession of child pornography (Count IV). The State subsequently added an additional charge of class D felony criminal ...


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