County District Court File No. 19HA-CR-13-2657
Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and James C.
Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Elizabeth M. Swank,
Assistant County Attorney, Hastings, Minnesota (for
Jeffrey C. Dean, Dean Law Office, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge;
Rodenberg, Judge; and Kirk, Judge.
stepgrandfather-stepgranddaughter relationship constitutes a
"significant relationship" as defined by Minn.
Stat. § 609.341, subd. 15 (2010).
challenges his second-degree criminal-sexual-conduct
convictions, arguing the district court erred when it
interpreted the term "significant relationship" in
Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 15, to include a
stepgrandfather-stepgranddaughter relationship and abused its
discretion when it permitted experts to testify generally
about sexual abuse of adolescents. Because we hold that the
district court correctly found stepgrandfathers to be
included in the statutory definition of "significant
relationship" and that the district court did not err
when it allowed into evidence general expert testimony
regarding characteristics of minors who have been sexually
abused, we affirm.
February 2007, M.C.'s mother, C.R., married R.R., the son
of appellant Edwin Gochingco Reyes. According to M.C., one
summer day in 2009, when she was 11 years old,
Reyes-M.C.'s stepgrandfather by marriage-told M.C. that
she had to kiss him in order to receive a gift. When M.C.
attempted to kiss Reyes on the lips, Reyes inserted his
tongue into M.C.'s mouth. Reyes told M.C. that she did
not have to tell anyone about the kiss; so M.C. did not tell
anyone at that time.
same summer, M.C. stayed at Reyes's house while her
mother and stepfather attended a baseball game. M.C., her
sister, and Reyes were watching TV while on Reyes's bed.
Reyes told M.C. to sit next to him. M.C. complied and
eventually fell asleep. She woke up from a nap to find Reyes
moving her hand inside his pants, rubbing his penis in a
circular motion. M.C. did not know what to do until 20-30
seconds later when she pulled her hand away and said that she
had to go to the bathroom. M.C. typed a text message to send
to R.R. describing what happened, but erased it before
sending it because she was afraid, nervous, and embarrassed,
and did not know if R.R. would believe her. Later that day,
Reyes and Z.R., Reyes's wife, took M.C. to a mall where
Reyes asked M.C. if she was upset about what happened. M.C.
did not respond and did not tell anyone about it because she
felt weak and embarrassed.
summer 2010, M.C. stayed with Reyes for a weekend while her
mother and stepfather were out of town. Reyes and M.C. were
in the basement alone. Reyes asked M.C. to sit on his lap.
When she did, Reyes started touching and grabbing M.C.'s
chest over her clothes, and put his hand inside M.C.'s
pants but on top of her underwear. This continued for 5-10
seconds. When M.C. left, Reyes again told her she did not
have to tell anyone what had happened.
mid-October 2010, M.C., C.R., and R.R. moved to Nebraska.
While working on a school health lesson with M.C. about
sexual touching, C.R. asked her if anyone had ever touched
her inappropriately. In response, M.C. told C.R. about the
incidents with Reyes. C.R. and R.R. decided to set up therapy
for M.C. and themselves. As time went on, M.C. disclosed more
details about the events.
January 2012, R.R. reported the incidents to the police.
Detective Stephanie Bolks, a specialist in
crimes-against-persons cases, investigated the report but was
unsuccessful in her attempts to contact Reyes. M.C. was later
interviewed by Mindee Rolles, a forensic interviewer. Reyes
was charged with criminal sexual conduct in the second degree
(victim under 16) (significant relationship), pursuant to
Minn. Stat. § 609.343, subd. 1(g) (2010), occurring on
or about May 1, 2010 through October 1, 2010, and criminal
sexual conduct in the second degree (victim under 16)
(significant relationship), pursuant to Minn. Stat. §
609.343, subd. 1(g) (2008), occurring on or about May 1, 2009
through October 1, 2009.
pretrial hearing, the state requested permission, through the
testimony of Rolles, to address why a child may delay
reporting, what circumstances may lead to a child disclosing,
and to whom a child may disclose. Reyes objected, arguing
that this evidence would improperly bolster M.C.'s
credibility. The district court reserved ruling on the issue,
pending the presentation on foundation presented by the
trial, the state called Rolles and Detective Bolks as
witnesses, and both testified to behaviors and
characteristics common in sexual-abuse-of-adolescent cases.
The defense did not renew its objection to Rolles's
testimony or object to Detective Bolks's testimony as
improperly bolstering M.C.'s credibility. The jury found