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Baxter v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 19, 2019

Ryan Baxter, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

          Appeal from the Elkhart Superior Court The Honorable Teresa L. Cataldo, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 20D03-1612-F1-11.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Elizabeth A. Bellin.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Evan M. Comer Deputy Attorney General.

          May, Judge.

         [¶1] Ryan Baxter appeals his conviction of Level 1 felony child molesting.[1] Baxter asserts:

1. The trial court erred by admitting a medical report; and
2. His victim's testimony was incredibly dubious, rendering his conviction unsupported by sufficient evidence.

         We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] Jonathan Woods ("Father") divorced Courtney Baxter ("Mother") when their daughter A.W. was two years old. Father received primary custody over A.W. Every other weekend, A.W. would stay with Mother and her husband, Baxter. When A.W. would return from visits with Mother and Baxter, A.W.'s behavior would be noticeably changed. A.W. would be moody, avoid other people, and have night terrors.

         [¶3] Near the end of January 2016, A.W., then four, was staying with Mother and Baxter for the weekend. One night, after Mother had gone to work, A.W. was in Baxter's bedroom. Baxter made A.W. lie down on the bed and threatened to spank her if she did not remove her clothes. Baxter then took off his pants and put his penis in A.W.'s butt and vagina. A.W. told Baxter to stop, but he ignored her. When Baxter was finished, he told A.W. to go back to her room. A.W. experienced anal and vaginal pain for several days after the incident.

         [¶4] One night after A.W. had returned to Father's home, A.W. was getting ready for bed with her grandmother, Rose. A.W. told Rose what happened with Baxter. The next day, Rose told Father what happened. Father and Rose then took A.W. to report the incident to the police. On February 8, 2016, A.W. underwent a sexual assault examination. The nurse, Nancy Grant, determined A.W. had an injury consistent with prior penile penetration that was healing.

         [¶5] The State charged Baxter with three counts of Level 1 felony child molesting. A jury found Baxter guilty of one count of Level 1 felony child molesting. The trial court imposed ...


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