Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CHRISTIAN COUNTY Honorable Eric D.
Eighmy, Special Judge
JEFFREY W. BATES, J.
Peirano (Defendant) was charged as a predatory sexual
offender with committing the following offenses: one count of
first-degree statutory sodomy (Count 1); and five counts of
first-degree child molestation (Counts 2-6). See
§§ 558.018; 566.062; 566.067. A jury found
Defendant guilty on all six counts and decided that Defendant
was a predatory sexual offender. The trial court sentenced
Defendant to concurrent life sentences on each
presents one point for decision. He contends the trial court
abused its discretion in admitting testimony from his aunt
and sister about Defendant's "sexual abuse when they
were young as propensity evidence because it was not legally
relevant … in that its probative value was
substantially outweighed by the risk of unfair
prejudice." We disagree and affirm.
does not contest the sufficiency of the evidence to support
his convictions. "We consider the facts and all
reasonable inferences derived therefrom in a light most
favorable to the verdict, and we reject all contrary evidence
and inferences." State v. Campbell, 122 S.W.3d
736, 737 (Mo. App. 2004); see also State v. Johns,
34 S.W.3d 93, 103 (Mo. banc 2000). Viewed from that
perspective, the following facts were adduced at trial.
charges against Defendant stemmed from conduct in 2010 and
2012 involving his daughter E.B. (Victim). In 2010, when
Victim was 9 or 10 years old, Defendant lived in a residence
in Nixa. He was separated from Victim's mother, who lived
in a nearby neighborhood. On one occasion at Defendant's
residence, Defendant took Victim into the shower with him,
telling her that he was going to teach her how to clean
herself. Victim was old enough to clean herself and was
taking showers on her own at this time. Defendant
"rub[bed her] down with soap" and started touching
"all of the parts" of her body, including her
genitals and anus. He then told her that he wanted her to
clean him. Victim told him that she did not want to do that,
but he made her "clean" his penis with her hand.
2012, when Victim was 11 or 12, Defendant lived in a
different residence. When Victim visited Defendant, he would
tell her to come into his bedroom, usually late at night, and
have her remove all of her clothing except her underwear. He
told her to lie on top of him while he was naked or in his
underpants, explaining that "skin-to-skin contact would
… help him with his high blood pressure."
Defendant would then touch her chest, buttocks, and genital
area with his hands. The touching of her genital area inside
of her underwear occurred "[m]ore than once." He
"sometimes" touched her anus. She could feel his
erect penis during these assaults, which she described as
being a "bump" in his underwear.
the 2012 Christmas break, Victim was supposed to spend some
time with Defendant. Victim said she was sick, so her mother
told Defendant that Victim would come in a couple of days.
When Victim's mother later told Victim it was time to
pack to go to Defendant's house, Victim was unusually
defiant about not wanting to go, which was out of character
for her. Eventually, Victim's mother said,
"There's got to be something going on here.
What's going on?" Victim started crying and
disclosed Defendant's sexual abuse of her.
abuse was reported to the Children's Division and the
Christian County Sheriff's Department. Victim was
interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center (CAC). Victim's
younger brother also was interviewed. During his interview,
he reported that he had been required to sit on
Defendant's chest and was told by Defendant that this
helped with his "blood pressure" and coughing.
Victim's brother stated that this "creeped [him]
State also presented testimony of Defendant's prior
sexually assaultive acts against young family members.
Defendant's ex-wife, with whom Defendant had a daughter,
gave the following testimony. In 2001, the daughter was two
years old. She told the ex-wife that daughter's
"owie" (her word for her private area) was hurting
and that Defendant had looked at it, "kissed it and
stuck his tongue on it there." Defendant admitted to the
ex-wife that he had looked at their daughter's
"owie" because she said that it hurt, but he denied
the other acts. The ex-wife made sure their daughter was
never alone with Defendant again.
aunt (Aunt), who was approximately three years older than
Defendant, testified about two incidents that occurred at
family gatherings when Defendant was 14 and 15 years old,
respectively. At a Fourth-of-July event, Defendant followed
Aunt into a bathroom, approached her from behind and grabbed
her breasts. Aunt pushed Defendant away and then avoided him
for the rest of the evening. The following April, at a
niece's birthday party, Defendant followed Aunt into the
niece's bedroom, threw Aunt on the bed, overpowered her,
and "rutted around" with his pelvis on her pelvis.
He did this for a minute or two and then stopped when it
appeared he had a "release" of sexual
gratification. Aunt told her best friend and her sister about
the April incident, but it was not reported to anyone else.
sister (Sister) gave the following testimony. She was 15
months younger than Defendant. He started sexually assaulting
Sister when she was 9 years old and did so "all the
time" until she was 17. He regularly touched her chest
both over and under her clothes. On one occasion, he asked to
touch her chest to help him "get warm" with her
"body heat" after he had his wisdom teeth removed.
Also, he often bent her over a freezer in the basement and
would grind his crotch against her buttocks. On an occasion
when Sister was 9 years old, Defendant asked to watch her
take a shower and then he went into the shower with her. He
told her to wash her crotch so he could watch her. On another
occasion when Sister was either in junior high or early high
school, Defendant walked in on her in the kitchen with his
erect penis in his hand and "made eyes at" her.
Another time, he picked up her feet and put them against his
penis. He also would rub his crotch against her hand in
locations where other people were present. She told her
parents and her uncle about Defendant's abuse, but no one
did anything to make it stop.
defense presented at trial was that the allegations made
against Defendant were false. To support that defense,
Defendant presented testimony from himself and several other
witnesses. The jury found Defendant guilty on all charges,
and this appeal followed.
single point challenges admission of testimony from Aunt and
Sister about Defendant's sexual abuse of them when they
were young. A trial court's ruling on the
admissibility of evidence is reviewed for abuse of
discretion. State v. Blurton, 484 S.W.3d 758, 769
(Mo. banc 2016). The trial court abuses its discretion when
its ruling is clearly against the logic of the circumstances
and is so ...