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State of Ohio v. Paul Short

October 14, 2011

STATE OF OHIO,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
PAUL SHORT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Criminal Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judgment Appealed From Is: TRIAL NO. B-1000481

Per curiam.

Cite as State v. Short,

OPINION.

Affirmed

Please note: This case has been removed from the accelerated calendar.

{¶1} Defendant-appellant Paul Short was indicted on eight counts for sexual- abuse crimes that occurred approximately twenty years ago against M.M., who was, at that time, a young boy entering his teenage years. The charges included single counts of rape and corruption of a minor, two counts of sexual battery, and four counts of gross sexual imposition.

{¶2} The state filed an intent to use evidence, and a hearing was held on June 7, 2010. A jury trial began on June 29, 2010. The jury found Short guilty of sexual battery and two counts of gross sexual imposition. The jury was undecided on one count of corruption of a minor, but it found Short not guilty of the remaining three charges.

{¶3} Short was sentenced under the law that existed at the time of the crimes to a two-year prison term for each offense, to be served consecutively. On appeal, he raises three assignments of error. Finding none of his assignments of error meritorious, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

I. Other-Acts Evidence

{¶4} In his first assignment of error, Short argues that the trial court erred in permitting the state to introduce evidence of other bad acts wholly unrelated to the indicted charges. The state argues, on the other hand, that testimony from D.E., J.R., and K.P. was admissible under R.C. 2907.02(D), R.C. 2945.59, and Evid.R. 404(B) to show Short's motive and intent as well as his modus operandi. We agree with the state.

{¶5} R.C. 2907.02(D) provides that evidence of specific instances of a defendant's sexual activity, otherwise inadmissible, may be properly admitted during a rape trial when the court finds that "the evidence is material to a fact at issue in the case and that the inflammatory or prejudicial nature does not outweigh its probative value."

We will not disturb "the evidentiary determination of a trial court under R.C. 2907.02(D)" absent a showing of an abuse of discretion which amounts to prejudicial error. See State v. Love (June 4, 1997), 1st Dist. No. C-960499. We utilize the same standard when reviewing the admissibility of evidence pursuant to R.C. 2945.59 and Evid.R.404(B). Id.

{¶6} Here, evidence of Short's interactions with young athletic boys from Cincinnati's west side--by first befriending them at a school playground or a school sporting event, then taking them to professional sporting events, buying them gifts, inviting them to various homes where he lived and encouraging them to enjoy the hot tub, video games, and large screen television in his basement, and then introducing them to alcohol, pornography, and sexual devices--all showed a pattern or sequence of events that Short used to gradually build trust with the boys before sexual abusing them. The boys testified that after they became comfortable with Short, he would "playfully" touch his penis and theirs, encourage them to engage in mutual masturbation, and then move on to oral sex and/or anal sex with them.

{¶7} This evidence, which outlined a formula for grooming the young boys into sexual partners, was relevant to show Short's motive and intent, as well as his modus operandi, and was, therefore, admissible under Evid.R. 404(B) and R.C. 2945.59. See State v. Jamison (1990), 49 Ohio St.3d 182, 552 N.E.2d 180, syllabus; State v. Shedrick (1991), 61 Ohio St.3d 331, 338, 574 N.E.2d 1065; State v. Curry (1975), 43 Ohio St.2d 66, 330 N.E.2d 720; State v. Love, supra; State ...


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