Bruce A. Sorenson, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
from the Rush Circuit Court Trial Court Cause No.
70C01-1602-FA-134 The Honorable David E. Northam, Judge.
Attorney for Appellant Cara Schaefer Wieneke Wieneke Law
Office, LLC Brooklyn, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Evan Matthew Comer Deputy Attorney General
of the Case
Bruce A. Sorenson appeals one of his fourteen convictions and
his 590-year aggregate sentence after he sexually assaulted
two of his daughters nearly every day from the time they were
in diapers to their mid-teens and also sexually assaulted one
of their childhood friends. He raises the following three
issues for our review:
1. Whether the State presented sufficient evidence to show
that Sorenson committed sexual misconduct with a minor, as
alleged in Count 11.
2. Whether the trial court erred when it determined that
Sorenson was a credit-restricted felon and, as such, that he
can earn only one day of good-time credit for every six days
3. Whether his 590-year sentence is inappropriate in light of
the nature of the offenses and his character.
We reverse Sorenson's conviction under Count 11, the
twenty-year sentence that was imposed on Count 11, and the
trial court's application of the incorrect credit-time
statutes against all of Sorenson's sentences except his
sentence on Count 3. As for the balance of Sorenson's
sentence, 570 years executed, we cannot say that it is
inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and
and Procedural History
When he was twenty-seven years old in March of 1995, Sorenson
became the father of his first daughter, T.S. Eighteen months
later, in September of 1996, he became the father of his
second daughter, J.S. Sorenson, the two daughters, and the
rest of the family lived in Rushville, initially on First
Street but later, in the early 2000s, they moved to Third
When T.S. "was in diapers," she would later recall,
Sorenson "th[rew] off" her diaper in her
"parent's bedroom" at the First Street house.
Tr. Vol. 3 at 89-90. T.S. "remember[e]d it very
vividly": the diaper "smacked against the wall
between the dresser and the closet, and then [Sorenson]
molested [her]" by inserting his penis into her anus.
Id. at 91. "[T]here [we]re other times"
that she also remembered in that bedroom, such as a time when
he "would have [her] on his waterbed and . . . they had
a headboard that had a mirror and . . . cubbies . . . and if
[she] ever picked [her] head up he would shove [her] head
back down in the pillow" because "he obviously
didn't want [her] to see" that he was "[h]aving
sex with [her] anally." Id.
Sorenson also molested T.S. in the bathroom at the First
Street house. He "would have [T.S.] bend over the toilet
and he would molest [her] anally, and . . . the same with
[her] bedroom." Id. at 92. Sorenson would also
"threaten [T.S.] if [she] didn't stop crying"
or tell her that "he was go[ing to] go and get [J.S.]
and do it to [her] instead . . . ." Id.
Although T.S. could not recall a specific number of times
Sorenson had molested her at the First Street house, she
"used to think that the amount [of] freckles [she] had
on [her] face and [her] body was the amount of times
[Sorenson had] molested" her there. Id. at 91.
The molestations continued after the family had moved to the
Third Street house. Sorenson would "sneak into [her]
bedroom at night" and sodomize T.S. in her bunk bed.
Id. at 93. He "would take [her] into the
bathroom and . . . have [her] lean over the toilet or the
bathtub" to "have sex with [her] anally."
Id. He would have her put a towel down on his bed,
"lean [her] over the side of the bed[, ] and . . . have
sex with [her] anally" there. Id. at 94. At
least once, T.S. "wouldn't stop crying" during
Sorenson's molestation of her, and he "punched her
in the back," which "hurt." Id.
Sorenson's attacks on T.S. gave her hemorrhoids on at
least one occasion and made defecation difficult for her.
Around 2006 or 2007, while at the house of a family friend,
Sorenson attempted to sodomize T.S. but T.S. "begged him
to vaginally molest [her] instead of anally" because
"it hurt less." Id. at 96. Although she
later could not recall another specific instance of Sorenson
molesting her vaginally, she "assum[ed] it [had]
happened" because, even though she was only eleven or
twelve during the incident at the friend's house, she
knew "it didn't hurt as bad when it was vaginal as
when it was anal." Id. Sorenson told T.S. to
never tell anyone of the molestations or he would hurt
T.S.'s mother, sister, or himself. Around the time T.S.
turned fifteen years old, Sorenson stopped molesting her.
J.S. lived at the First Street house until she was about four
years old. Although very young at the time, J.S. later would
be able to recall at least two occasions at the First Street
house in which Sorenson had molested her. In particular, she
remembered that, on one occasion, Sorenson had called her
into his bedroom, exposed her to pornography on a television
in the room, and then "bent [her] over the bed"
such that she was "face down" on the bed
"faced toward the wall." Id. at 47.
Sorenson then anally penetrated J.S. with his penis.
On a separate occasion, J.S. and T.S. "ran into"
their parent's bedroom late at night because "it was
thundering." Id. at 48. Their mother was in the
bed, but Sorenson "sent mom to the store to get
something." Id. Once she had left, Sorenson
sodomized J.S. In doing so, he told her that, "if [she]
was good," she would get a "lunchable" treat
One day after the family had moved to the Third Street home,
Sorenson took J.S. to the grocery store. But they did not go
back to the family home afterward. Instead, Sorenson took
J.S. to a grandmother's house in Rushville. As soon as
they were through the threshold of the grandmother's
house, Sorenson "just bent [J.S.] over right there and
did anal penetration" with his penis. Id. at
49. On another occasion at a grandmother's house,
Sorenson sodomized J.S. using some leftover "bacon
grease as lubrication." Id. at 61.
J.S. lived at the Third Street home with Sorenson for about
ten years. During that time, Sorenson sodomized J.S.
"[j]ust about every day." Id. at 51-52. On
one occasion, J.S. was lying down on her bed when her mother
and T.S. "went to the store to go get dinner."
Id. at 54. Once they were gone, Sorenson "came
in the bedroom and . . . took [J.S.] to the bathroom,"
where he anally penetrated her. Id. at 54-55. He
then "sent [her] back to the bedroom to act like [she]
was still l[ying] down" when her mother and T.S.
returned. Id. at 55.
But most of Sorenson's abuse of J.S. at the Third Street
home occurred in Sorenson's bedroom. "[I]t was
always anal penetration." Id. at 56. J.S. was
nearly always "bent over on the bed," with her
feet only "kind of touching the floor" but
"not so much" given her size. Id. During
the abuse, Sorenson would "always watch out the window .
. . to see if mom would show up." Id. J.S.
could sometimes tell when Sorenson was about to molest her
based on "[t]he way he would look" at her, which
when you haven't [eaten] for a whole day, and you get
home from work, and you have this plate set down in front of
you, and you feel your stomach growling, and your mouth
starts watering; you get that look in your eyes . . . . [H]e
had that same look.
Id. at 59.
During one of Sorenson's last molestations of J.S.,
around the time she was fourteen or slightly older, J.S.
remembered a younger sibling being in her parent's
bedroom "in a bouncy seat." Id. at 57.
J.S. remembered "seeing her . . . little sister's
face" during the molestation. Id. J.S. felt
"broke[n]" in that moment and resolved that she did
not "want that to happen" to her little sister.
Id. at 57-58. J.S. then tried to tell her mother
about the molestations, but her mother "didn't have
a reaction like [J.S.] expected. She was too calm about it.
It was like she already knew." Id. at 58.
J.S.'s mother also "tr[ied] to talk [J.S.] out
of" going to the police. Id. J.S. then began
telling Sorenson "no" when he would try to molest
her, and the molestations ceased. Id. at 59, 67.
While living at the Third Street house, J.S. was friends with
C.N., a girl who also lived on Third Street in Rushville and
was a few months younger than J.S. C.N. stayed the night at
the Sorensons' Third Street house on two occasions. On
both occasions, Sorenson molested her.
The first time it happened, C.N. remembered "w[aking] up
to [her] pants down" and Sorenson "going inside
[her] . . . vagina" with "[h]is penis."
Id. at 78. C.N. was about eight years old at the
time. She was lying "[o]n [her] side, facing the
wall" in J.S.'s bedroom, and could see "toys
and clothes and the wall." Id. When Sorenson
finished, he told her, "Oh, I thought you were my
wife." Id. at 80. He then walked away and C.N.
put her clothes back on. The second incident was nearly
identical to the first.
On a separate occasion about one year later, C.N. went
camping with J.S. and her family. T.S., J.S., and C.N. all
went inside a nearby barn and then up into the barn loft.
Sorenson followed the girls there and then molested all three
of them. He "took [C.N.'s] pants down, bent [her]
over," and vaginally penetrated her with his penis.
Id. at 81. He then anally penetrated his daughters.
Sorenson then "just walked away" and "went
back to the campsite." Id. at 82.
Around February of 2016, J.S., now nineteen years old, went
to the Rushville Police Department to report Sorenson's
molestations of her, T.S., and C.N. Officers contacted T.S.
and C.N., who ...