Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler
APPEAL FROM BUTLER COUNTY AREA II COURT Case No. CRB 1500092B
Michael T. Gmoser, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney,
Michael Greer, Government Services Center, for
N. Blauvelt, for defendant-appellant.
1} Defendant-appellant, Geraldo J. Sanchez-Garza
("Garza"), appeals his conviction in the Butler
County Area II Court for sexual imposition. For the reasons
discussed below, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
2} The victim - a 14-year-old child - testified that
on July 22, 2013, she and her friend H. were at their friend
L.'s home for a sleepover. Also at the home was Garza
(L.'s father), Garza's wife, and Garza's son, M.
3} That night, the victim and the other children (L,
H., and M.) watched television together in the basement. L,
H., and M. eventually went to sleep on couches in the
basement. There was no more room on the couches to
accommodate the victim so she went upstairs and slept in
4} The next morning, the victim woke up to the sound
of Garza's wife opening the garage door to leave for
work. Shortly thereafter, Garza entered L's bedroom and
sat down on the bed next to the victim. The victim was lying
on her stomach.
5} Garza began to rub the victim's back over her
shirt. The victim testified that she thought this was
"weird" but also that Garza was just being nice to
her. In this regard, the victim said that she had been best
friends with L. for eight years and that Garza was like a
second father to her.
6} Garza continued to rub the victim's back and
moved his hand under her clothing. Garza and the victim said
nothing to one another while this was happening. Garza then
began rubbing the victim's buttocks, with his hand under
7} Garza next rolled the victim onto her side and
lay down behind her, which the victim described as
"spooning." The victim testified that Garza began
to "dry hump" her, which she said meant that he was
"putting his penis up against my butt, pushing up
against me." The victim testified that she could feel
Garza's erect penis on her back.
8} The victim said she was terrified and thought
that Garza was going to rape her. She got out of the bed,
followed by Garza. As she was leaving the room the victim
told Garza she needed to get her phone and he asked why. She
responded that she needed to check Instagram (a social media
phone application). She explained that this was a lie but it
was all she could think to say. Garza then told her not to
tell anyone what happened because he would get in trouble.
9} The victim testified that she ran downstairs to
where the other children were sleeping and woke up H. While
crying, the victim told H. that she thought that Garza had
tried to rape her. L. and M. were apparently awake for this
10} The children heard Garza come down the stairs to
the basement. The victim ¶ed into a nearby laundry room.
The other children pretended to be asleep.
11} Garza went into the laundry room and asked the
victim what she was doing. The victim said,
"nothing." She then began angrily screaming at
Garza, stating "you know what you did to me!" Garza
responded, saying "why would you say that" and
"I didn't do that." At trial, H. described
Garza's reaction as "panicked" and
12} Garza called his wife, who came home from work.
In front of Garza, the victim told Garza's wife what
happened. The victim said that Garza then started "dying
laughing when I was trying to tell her, like he thought it
was all just a big joke." Garza's wife drove the
victim back to her home and relayed the accusation to the
13} The state charged Garza with sexual imposition,
a violation of R.C. 2907.06 and unlawful restraint, a
violation of R.C. 2905.03, both third-degree misdemeanors. At
Garza's bench trial, the state introduced the testimony
of the victim, H., and investigating police officer Doug
14} During the trial, and over Garza's
objection, H. testified as to what the victim said to her
that morning. Also during H.'s testimony, the prosecutor
asked her whether she had any reason to
"disbelieve" what the victim told her. Again, over
objection, H. answered that she did not.
15} Officer Leist testified that he interviewed the
victim and was present when she was interviewed at a child
advocacy center. Officer Leist testified that the
victim's trial testimony was consistent with both
interviews. The prosecutor also asked Officer Leist questions
concerning Garza's refusal to speak with him before and
after his arrest. Garza did not object to these lines of
16} The court found Garza guilty of sexual
imposition and not guilty of unlawful restraint. The court
sentenced Garza to 60 days in jail, all of which were
suspended, and two years of community control. The court also
designated Garza a Tier I sexual offender.
17} Garza presents us with four assignments of