Corey R. Faith, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
from the Harrison Superior Court, No. 31D01-1803-FA-204 The
Honorable Joseph L. Claypool, Judge.
Petition to Transfer from the Court of Appeals, No.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT, COREY FAITH Matthew J. McGovern
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE, STATE OF INDIANA Curtis T. Hill, Jr.
Attorney General of Indiana Stephen R. Creason Deputy
Attorney General Samuel J. Dayton Deputy Attorney General
Justice Rush and Justice David, Justice Massa, and Justice
Goff concur. Justice Slaughter dissents with separate
Corey Faith pleaded guilty to three counts of Class A felony
child molesting and was sentenced to consecutive terms of 30
years on each count, for an executed sentence of 90 years,
with 20 years suspended.
appealed, arguing that his sentence was inappropriate in
light of the nature of the offense and his character.
Pursuant to its authority under Appellate Rule 7(B), the
Court of Appeals revised Faith's sentence to concurrent
30-year terms, with no time suspended, on all three Counts.
Faith v. State, No. 18A-CR-2901, 2019 WL 2275096
(Ind.Ct.App. May 29, 2019). In so doing, the Court of Appeals
relied on this Court's opinions in Monroe v.
State, 886 N.E.2d 578 (Ind. 2008), and Harris v.
State, 897 N.E.2d 927 (Ind. 2008), both of which revised
the defendants' enhanced 50-year sentences for multiple
convictions of Class A felony child molesting to be served
concurrently instead of consecutively.
State petitioned for transfer, which we now grant, vacating
the Court of Appeals decision. Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A).
Indiana Constitution authorizes independent appellate review
and revision of a trial court's sentencing decision.
See IND. CONST. art. 7, §§ 4, 6;
McCain v. State, 88 N.E.3d 1066, 1067 (Ind. 2018).
That authority is implemented through Appellate Rule 7(B),
which permits an appellate court to revise a sentence if,
after due consideration of the trial court's decision,
the sentence is found to be inappropriate in light of the
nature of the offense and the character of the offender.
Id. The court's role under Rule 7(B) is to
"leaven the outliers," Cardwell v. State,
895 N.E.2d 1219, 1225 (Ind. 2008), and we reserve our 7(B)
authority for exceptional cases. Taylor v. State, 86
N.E.3d 157, 165 (Ind. 2017), reh'g denied.
"Ultimately, our constitutional authority to review and
revise sentences boils down to our collective sense of what
is appropriate." Id. at 165 (cleaned up).
record shows that in 2005, Faith began grooming his
12-year-old student, A.B., at a time when A.B.'s mother
was undergoing inpatient treatment for her mental illness and
her father was working long hours to support the family. Over
the course of several months, Faith had intercourse with A.B.
"[e]very time we were together; almost every time."
Although A.B. lost count of the total number of times Faith
had sex with her, she recalled more than 20 specific
occasions, including two times when he placed her on top of
his lap as he sat on the toilet, three times in the
girl's locker room at the elementary school where Faith
worked as a teacher, and five times in Faith's classroom
after A.B. began seventh grade. When Faith was not engaging
in intercourse with A.B., he fingered her vagina, had her
perform oral sex on him, or had her engage in phone sex.
Faith led A.B. to believe that they would elope to Tennessee,
and A.B. was devastated when she learned that Faith's
wife was expecting their first child.
mother, whose mental health issues were largely attributed to
her own molestation at age 12, once informed A.B. that
"she would die" if what happened to her happened to
A.B. After A.B.'s mother died by suicide in 2016, A.B.
"went downhill" and "started to feel like my
mom … I just wanted to die." She confided in a
friend, who immediately reported Faith's actions to the
police and school board.
this conduct, Faith was charged with 36 counts of Class A
felony child molesting, and ultimately entered a guilty plea
to three counts. While the Court of Appeals found that
Faith's position of trust over A.B. "was
sufficiently aggravating to justify an enhanced
sentence," it instead revised his sentence to concurrent
terms of 30 years - the advisory sentence for a single Class
A felony conviction. 2018 WL 2275096 at *5.
to our authority under Appellate Rule 7(B), we find a 30-year
aggregate sentence to be wholly inadequate under the
circumstances. On appeal, Faith cited Monroe and
Harris to support his claim that consecutive
sentences are inappropriate in cases involving multiple acts
of molestation against a single victim. But both cases
involved the revision of enhanced, not advisory,
sentences to be served concurrently instead of consecutively.
Accordingly, we ...