from the Clinton Circuit Court Trial Court Cause No.
12C01-1505-FA-477 The Honorable Bradley K. Mohler, Judge
Attorney for Appellant Steven Knecht Vonderheide &
Knecht, P.C. Lafayette, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Tyler G. Banks Deputy Attorney General
In 2011, Appellant-Defendant Miguel Alvarado began living
with M.L., who was born in 2005, and M.L.'s mother
("Mother"), marrying her the next year. While
living with M.L. and Mother until 2013, Alvarado molested
M.L. several times, penetrating her orally, vaginally, and
anally with his penis. In 2015, the State charged Alvarado
with nine counts of Class A felony child molesting.
Prior to trial, Alvarado sought to introduce evidence that
M.L. had been molested by Mother's new boyfriend as
recently as early 2015, on the basis that this molestation
provided M.L. with the knowledge to fabricate her accusations
against Alvarado. The trial court denied Alvarado's
motion to introduce the evidence in question. After the
State's closing argument, Alvarado moved to reopen
evidence on the basis that the State had opened the door to
the evidence of molestation by Mother's boyfriend. The
trial court denied Alvarado's motion, entered judgment of
conviction for four counts of child molesting, and sentenced
him to an aggregate sentence of ninety years of
incarceration. Alvarado contends that the trial court abused
its discretion in refusing to admit evidence that M.L. was
molested by Mother's boyfriend and in denying him leave
to reopen evidence. Because we disagree, we affirm.
and Procedural History
M.L. was born in May of 2005 to Mother and her then-husband.
In 2011, Mother and Alvarado had been in a relationship for
three years and were living in Frankfort with M.L. and one of
Mother's other three daughters. Mother and Alvarado
married in June 2012. From 2011 until Alvarado and Mother
divorced in 2013, Mother was consistently employed, while
Alvarado had periodic employment.
Typically, after returning home from work, Mother would take
her other daughter to the grocery store, leaving M.L. alone
with Alvarado at home. One day after Mother left, Alvarado
entered M.L.'s room as she was playing with her dolls.
Alvarado was fully dressed when he entered M.L.'s room
but quickly removed his pants and underwear. Alvarado took a
belt, bent M.L. over, and spanked her with the belt. When he
finished hitting M.L., Alvarado removed his shirt.
When M.L. stood, Alvarado forced her against the wall of her
bedroom. M.L. started to scream, but Alvarado covered her
mouth with his hand. Alvarado penetrated M.L.'s vagina,
anus, and mouth with his penis. On other days, Alvarado
performed these sexual acts on M.L. in the same manner every
time. In early 2015, M.L., by this time almost ten years old,
reported these incidents to her grandmother. Around this
time, M.L. made similar allegations involving Mother's
boyfriend, i.e., that he had "forced her to
perform oral sex as well as vaginal and anal sex." Ex.
A. The Kokomo Police Department interviewed the boyfriend on
March 27, 2015, and filed an application for an arrest
warrant on April 30, 2015.
On May 22, 2015, the State charged Alvarado with nine counts
of child molesting as Class A felonies. Before trial,
Alvarado moved to introduce evidence that M.L. was molested
by Mother's ex-boyfriend as recently as January 2015. On
February 13, 2017, the trial court held a confidential
hearing on Alvarado's motion. After this hearing, the
trial court issued an order denying Alvarado's motion,
holding that he would be "precluded from introducing
evidence of a subsequent molest and/or allegation of
molest[.]" Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 125.
Alvarado's trial was held on February 28, 2017. M.L. told
the jury that she referred to her breasts as her "upper
private[, ]" her vagina as her "down private[,
]" and her buttocks as her "[b]ack private."
Tr. Vol. II 153-54. M.L. referred to a man's penis as the
man's "down private[.]" Tr. Vol. II 156-57.
M.L. used the same or similar terms when describing
Alvarado's molestation of her, testifying that Alvarado
touched her with his "down private" in her mouth,
"down private[, ]" and her "back down
private[.]" Tr. Vol. II pp. 170-71. M.L. testified that
Alvarado hurt her when his "down private" went
inside of her "down private" and that she knew it
was inside her body "[c]ause [she] could feel it."
Tr. Vol. II pp. 178-79. On cross-examination, M.L., then in
the sixth grade, testified that she had learned about good
and bad touches in school but could not remember when.
After M.L. finished testifying, Alvarado again raised the
rape-shield issue and proffered the arrest warrant
application for Mother's boyfriend, which contained the
allegation that he had forced M.L. into oral, vaginal, and
anal sex. The warrant application was admitted for purposes
of an offer of proof as Exhibit A, and also noted:
"[M.L.] also alleged that her step father [sic], Miguel
Avarado [sic] molested her in the same ...