Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF GREENE COUNTY Honorable Judge
Calvin R. Holden
W. SHEFFIELD, P.J.
Lee Hankins ("Defendant") appeals one of his three
convictions for first-degree child molestation following a
bench trial. See § 566.067.1. In one point on
appeal, Defendant argues there was insufficient evidence that
he touched the genitals of one of his victims, A.W. For the
reasons that follow, the trial court's judgment is
and Procedural Background
appeal, "[t]his Court views the evidence and all
reasonable inferences derived therefrom in a light most
favorable to the verdict and disregards any contrary evidence
and inferences." State v. Lopez-McCurdy, 266
S.W.3d 874, 876 (Mo. App. S.D. 2008). So viewed, the
following evidence was adduced at trial.
("Mother") testified that S.H., A.H., and A.W. are
her daughters. S.H. was born in May 2003; A.H. was born in
July 2006; and A.W. was born in September 2009. Mother met
Defendant in early 2010, and moved in with him in June of the
same year. Mother testified that A.H. referred to Defendant
as "Dave-Dave, " and A.W. referred to him as either
"Dave-Dave" or "Daddy." Mother identified
Defendant in court as the same individual that the girls
called either "Dave-Dave" or "Daddy."
March 2013, A.H. told Mother that "Dave-Dave" had
"bad videos on his phone" of naked men and women
"touching and kissing each other's private
areas." Defendant made A.H. watch the videos one day
after she had been sent home early from school due to an
illness. A.H. told Mother that while they watched the videos,
Defendant placed his hand down the back of her pants and
touched her "private parts" with his fingers.
Defendant moved out of the house immediately after A.H. made
these disclosures to Mother.
called A.H.'s school counselor and law enforcement
officials, and an appointment was scheduled for each of her
daughters at the Child Advocacy Center ("CAC") in
Springfield. A forensic interviewer from the CAC, Ashley
Reece ("Reece"), testified that she spoke with all
three girls in March 2013. S.H. did not make "a
disclosure" to Reece, but A.H. and A.W. did. Reece's
taped interviews with A.H. and A.W., State's Exhibits 1
and 2, were admitted into evidence at trial and have been
deposited with this Court.
A.H.'s CAC interview, A.H. (six years old at that time)
told Reece that when she watches videos with Defendant, he
"rubs" her "private, " which she
demonstrated with a doll was the place between her legs, with
his hand. Defendant played videos depicting a "big
girl" and a "big boy" on his cellular phone;
the girl was "sucking and rubbing" the boy's
"private." A.H. also described an occasion where
Defendant had put his hand inside her jeans and
"rubbed" her while they waited in the car for
Mother to get her nails done. Defendant covered A.H.'s
lap with a blanket and asked her if his touch felt good, to
which she responded, "No."
held a separate interview with A.W. (three years old at that
time). During the interview, A.W. told Reece that
"Dave-Dave" lived with her, and that she also
referred to him as "Daddy." A.W. explained that
"Dave-Dave" was a "grown-up." On an
anatomically correct drawing of a female child, A.W.
accurately identified the face, eyes, mouth, hair,
"boobies, " belly button, back, legs, feet, and
"butt." However, A.W. identified the female
genitalia area as her "body." A.W. recalled
that "Daddy" tickled her "body" and
pointed to the representation of female genitalia on the
drawing with the tip of a marker. When asked again by Reece
where her "body" was, A.W. pointed to the
representation of female genitalia with the tip of a marker.
Reece then pointed to the crotch on the drawing and asked
A.W. what Defendant tickled her "body" with; A.W.
also explained that it was "ok" if someone touched
her belly button, but it was "not ok" if they
touched her "body." Immediately thereafter, Reece
asked A.W. if anyone had touched her "body"; A.W.
responded that "Dave-Dave did, " directed the tip
of her marker to the crotch area on the drawing, and repeated
that Dave-Dave had tickled her "body." A.W. stated
that "Dave-Dave" had tickled her "body"
at a time when she and "Dave-Dave" were at home
alone. Reece asked A.W. if she had "any other
daddy's." A.W. responded, "Dave-Dave."
State charged Defendant with three counts of first-degree
child molestation. Counts 1 and 2 related to Defendant's
sexual contact with A.H, while Count 3 related to sexual
contact with A.W. Defendant waived his right to a jury and
received a bench trial. The trial court found Defendant
guilty and sentenced him to three concurrent terms of eight
years' imprisonment. This appeal followed as to only the
conviction for Count 3 regarding A.W.
reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence in a bench-tried
case, this Court employs the same standard of review as in a
jury-tried case. State v. Rousselo, 386 S.W.3d 919,
920 (Mo. App. S.D. 2012). That is, we "do not weigh the
evidence but accept as true all evidence tending to prove
guilt together with all reasonable inferences that support
the verdict and ignore all contrary evidence and
inferences." State v. Wooden, 388 S.W.3d 522,
527 (Mo. banc 2013). "[T]his Court's review is
limited to determining whether sufficient evidence was
admitted at trial from which a reasonable trier of fact could
have found each element of the offense to have been
established beyond a reasonable doubt." State v.
Burrell, 160 S.W.3d 798, 801 (Mo. ...