from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Grant W.
Hawkins, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49G05-1610-F1-42034
Attorney for Appellant Michael R. Fisher Marion County Public
Defender Agency Indianapolis, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana, James B. Martin Deputy Attorney General
Andrew Seal appeals his conviction for committing level 1
felony child molesting against four-year-old S.P. He argues
that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting his
confession without independent evidence of the corpus
delicti. Although he concedes that there is independent
evidence that he committed level 4 felony child molesting by
touching S.P.'s sex organ, he contends that the corpus
delicti rule demands independent evidence of penetration of
S.P.'s sex organ, which is the element that raises the
offense to a higher felony level. He also argues that the
evidence is insufficient to support his conviction.
We conclude that the independent evidence that Seal committed
the offense of child molesting satisfies the purpose of the
corpus delicti rule such that independent evidence of
penetration is unnecessary for the admission of his
confession. As such, the trial court did not abuse its
discretion in admitting it. We also conclude that the
evidence is sufficient to support his conviction. Therefore,
and Procedural History
In 2014, Seal was hired as a teacher for the prekindergarten
program at Daystar Childcare ("Daystar"), a
ministry of Englewood Christian Church in Indianapolis. From
August 2015 through May 2016, four-year-old S.P. was assigned
to Seal's classroom. In May 2016, while S.P.'s mother
was putting S.P. in her car seat after dinner at a
restaurant, S.P. told her mother about an incident with
"Mr. Andy." Tr. Vol. 2 at 64. S.P. said that at
naptime, Seal touched her vagina with his finger under her
clothes. Id. at 59-60.
S.P.'s parents took her to their pediatrician, who
advised them to call Riley Children's
Hospital. Id. at 65. S.P.'s parents
also called Child Protective Services ("CPS"). CPS
conducted a forensic interview with S.P. the week after she
confided in her mother, but S.P. did not disclose any
inappropriate touching. Id. at 66.
S.P.'s mother reported S.P.'s allegations to a
Daystar co-director. Daystar informed the Indiana Department
of Child Services ("DCS") and restricted Seal from
returning to his classroom until "everything had been
cleared" by DCS. Id. at 77. DCS personnel
interviewed Seal regarding the incident with S.P. Seal stated
that S.P. got up from her cot during naptime. When he
instructed her to go back to her cot, she turned around,
pulled her pants down, and "shook her bottom at
him." Id. at 78. Seal went to S.P.'s cot,
told her to lie down, pulled up her pants, covered her with
her blanket, and gave her some books. Id.
On July 20, 2016, Seal was cleared to return to his
classroom. In August, Seal reported to a Daystar co-director
that he had unintentionally touched three-year-old J.B.
inappropriately when she jumped on his lap. Id. at
80-81; State's Ex. 5. A Daystar co-director informed
J.B.'s parents of the incident. In September, J.B. told
her mother about another incident. She said that at naptime
Seal touched her "on [her] vagina" through her
clothes or on top of her covers with his fingers or hand. Tr.
Vol. 2 at 16-17. She said that he had done it more than once.
Id. at 17. J.B.'s parents reported Seal's
conduct to Daystar and removed J.B. from Daystar's
programs. Id. at 22. Daystar terminated Seal and
reported the allegations to DCS. Id. at 86. Seal
prepared a written statement providing accounts of five
incidents with J.B., in which he denied that he had
intentionally touched J.B. inappropriately. Id. at
87; State's Ex. 6.
In late September or early October of 2016, Seal's
five-year-old daughter S.S. told her mother (Seal's wife)
that Seal had inappropriately touched her when they were in
his bed. Tr. Vol. 2 at 32-33. S.S. said that she got in bed
with Seal, and he started tickling her arms and then her
"pee-pee." Id. at 35. Then, he pulled down
her pants and underwear and tickled her on top of her
"pee-pee." Id. at 36. Seal told S.S. not
to tell, but she later told her mother. When S.S.'s
mother confronted Seal with the allegations, he admitted they
Detective Genae Cook of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police
Department investigated J.B.'s and S.S.'s allegations
against Seal. Forensic interviews of J.B. and S.S. were
conducted. During the investigation, Detective Cook learned
of the earlier report regarding S.P. Detective Cook called
S.P.'s parents and requested a follow-up forensic
interview with S.P. Id. at 67. At this interview
S.P. "made a disclosure." Id.
As part of the investigation, Detective Cook conducted a
videotaped interview with Seal. Seal signed a written
advisement and waiver of his Miranda rights, and the
following conversation took place:
Q: So when you dealt with [S.P.], you said she just pulled
her pa … pants down. So when you were watching her
were you getting erections then? Did you start to feel it
Q: So when did you take a, take it to the next level?
A: Um, she, at one point wanted me to just like put my finger
down there so I did.
Q: Okay. What do you mean put your finger down there?
A. She wanted …
Q: Tell me what you did?
A: Like I put my finger down there. She grabbed ahold of my
finger and started rubbin' herself with my finger.
Q: So you started rubbin' her on her vagina then, did it
become something that became somethin' between you and
her at naptime or anything?
A: It … happened like three times.
Q: So when you were touching [S.P.] was it over the underwear
or under the underwear?
A: Hers was under the underwear because she would pull her
Q: Okay, so would your finger go up between the labia?
Q: Would you (inaudible) go ...