Syllabus by the Court
cases where criminal charges are severed for trial and result
in multiple final judgments, each final judgment is
appealable and subject to the timelines in Minnesota Rule of
Criminal Procedure 28.02.
Stevens County District Court, File No. 75-CR-16-207
Ellison, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Aaron
Jordan, Stevens County Attorney, Morris, Minnesota (for
M. Christensen, Robert M. Christensen, P.L.C., Minneapolis,
Minnesota (for appellant)
and decided by Bjorkman, Presiding Judge; Jesson, Judge; and
Smith, John, Judge.[*]
Appellant Brad Donald Tomlinson, accused of criminal sexual
conduct toward four young girls after befriending their
parents and exploiting their trust, appeals his convictions
of criminal sexual conduct involving two of the victims.
Tomlinson argues that the district court abused its
discretion by admitting evidence of a common scheme or plan
in his trials. Because we agree with the state that the
appeal from his first convictions is untimely, we review only
Tomlinsons subsequent conviction. And because the district
court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of
Tomlinsons common scheme in that trial, we affirm.
woman reported to the police in May 2016 that the man living
with her, appellant Brad Donald Tomlinson, had been abusing
young girls, including her granddaughters. The police
investigated, interviewing four victims and Tomlinson. After
the investigation, the state charged Tomlinson with five
counts of criminal sexual conduct, including two counts in
the first degree and three counts in the second degree. The
different counts related to Tomlinsons different victims.
Counts one and two related to Tomlinsons abuse of J.R.,
count three related to T.E., count four related to C.S., and
count five related to L.M.
review, in chronological order, the victims
allegations. The incidents of abuse began in 1986
when the first victim, T.E., was about five years old.
Tomlinson and her father, who were close friends, hunted and
fished together. T.E. would often wait for them to return
after fishing trips. T.E. testified that, on five to seven
different occasions, she dozed off at home on the couch while
waiting for her father to return and woke up to Tomlinson
touching her chest and vagina under her clothes.
Tomlinsons next victim, J.R., was about nine when the abuse
began in 1994. Tomlinson was close friends with her father as
well. Both men often went fishing and Tomlinson even brought
J.R. on a fishing trip once. J.R.s father had serious health
problems so Tomlinson would often help him out, as he did
with J.R., who has a physical disability. J.R. testified that
Tomlinson would touch her breasts and vagina over and under
her clothes at her home, often while her father was in the
next room. Eventually, he penetrated her vagina with his
fingers and tongue. The incidents occurred multiple times
over five years, according to J.R. She reported that the
abuse ended when her father died and she moved.
Tomlinsons third and fourth victims, C.S. and L.M., were
granddaughters of the woman he was living with, who reported
the abuse to the authorities in 2016. Both girls would often
be around Tomlinson during visits with their grandmother.
C.S. reported that in 2004, when she was 11, she went fishing
with Tomlinson during a visit to her grandmothers. After
they returned and everyone else was asleep, according to
C.S., Tomlinson came up behind her and touched her chest
under her shirt for about a minute. C.S. reported that she
avoided Tomlinson after that incident.
reported that when she was spending time at her grandmothers
home in 2008, at around age seven, Tomlinson groped her chest
under her shirt. Her grandmother was at home, in another
room, when this occurred. L.M. recalled
that this happened about five times. After that, L.M. stopped
being alone with Tomlinson.
these factual allegations in mind, we return to the
procedural posture of this case. After the charges were
filed, at a contested omnibus hearing, the district court
dismissed the charge relating to Tomlinsons abuse of T.E.
(count three) because it was outside the statute of
limitations. Then, at Tomlinsons request, the
court severed the counts relating to J.R., C.S., and L.M. for
trial. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 17.03, subd. 3(1).
first trial, relating to Tomlinsons abuse of J.R. (counts
one and two), the state moved to admit testimony from
Tomlinsons other victims, asserting that their accounts
established his common scheme or plan of abuse. After holding
an evidentiary hearing, the district court granted the
states motion and permitted the three other victims, T.E.,
C.S., and L.M., to testify. The jury found Tomlinson guilty
of first-degree criminal sexual conduct toward J.R. on both
counts. About five months ...