from the Circuit Court of De Kalb County. No. 13-CF-928
Honorable Robbin J. Stuckert, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Justices Jorgensen and Spence concurred in the judgment and
1 Following a jury trial, defendant, Jeremiah Riggs, was
convicted of nine counts of predatory criminal sexual assault
of a child (720 ILCS 5/11-1.40(a)(1) (West 2012)). He
appeals, contending that he was deprived of his
constitutional right to confront witnesses when, although the
court admitted the victim's out-of-court statements
describing all of the conduct with which defendant was
charged, she testified at trial about only three incidents.
Defendant contends that he was thus unable to effectively
cross-examine her about the remaining incidents. We affirm.
2 Defendant was charged with 15 counts of predatory criminal
sexual assault involving I.H. The State moved to introduce
I.H.'s hearsay statements pursuant to section 115-10 of
the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code) (725 ILCS
5/115-10 (West 2012)). At a hearing, Tracy Paszotta testified
that she was I.H.'s kindergarten teacher in 2013. One
day, a parent called Paszotta and said that I.H. had told the
caller's daughter that I.H.'s father had
inappropriately touched her. Paszotta took I.H. out of her
music class and asked if anything was bothering her. After
some prompting, I.H. said that her father, whom she called
"Uncle Miah," had taken her and another child into
the bathroom, where he made I.H. watch a pornographic movie
on his phone. He then pulled down her pants and touched her.
Paszotta did not ask any further questions. She returned I.H.
to class and called the Department of Children and Family
Services (DCFS) hotline.
3 While Paszotta waited for DCFS to call her back, the school
psychologist said that I.H. had more to tell her. I.H. then
said that" 'he put his finger inside
[her].'" Paszotta called DCFS again and said that
she needed to speak to someone right away because the
students were about to be released from school. She was then
connected with someone who took the report.
4 Monique Heilmeister testified that she interviewed I.H. at
the Children's Advocacy Center. During the interview,
I.H. said that she was lying on Aunt Angie's bed when
defendant took her into the bathroom, pulled down his pants,
locked the door, and "stuck his thing in [her] private
5 I.H. was initially unsure how old she was when this
occurred but later said that it happened after her sixth
birthday party in May. Defendant put his finger under her
underwear, removed her clothes, and made her lie on the bed.
He put his finger inside her and got on top of her and was
"humping" her with his clothes off. I.H. said that
when she fell asleep defendant hit and choked her. He made
her suck his "private part." I.H. used a Coke
bottle to show what he did. She said that this happened more
than once that day. It happened only at Aunt Angie's
house. When asked what defendant did to her "pee
pee," she made a humping motion. When asked if anything
went inside her "pee pee," she replied a finger.
When asked if anything touched the skin around her "pee
pee," she shook her head no. Defendant humped her neck
and her back. When asked what part of her body
defendant's penis touched, she pointed to the back of her
neck. She also said that his penis touched her mouth and that
he made her suck it. She did not remember what his penis
looked like and did not see anything come out of it. However,
she later said that his penis was big and long.
6 I.H. said that defendant put his penis inside her
"butt" and inside her "pee pee" more than
once. He made her suck his penis more than once. She thought
that he said he would kill her if she told anyone what
happened. He put makeup on her and almost stabbed her.
Defendant had shown her sex videos before. He also made her
suck his penis in the bathroom at her house in De Kalb more
than 10 times on the same day. This last happened at the De
Kalb house "a long time ago." Defendant last made
her suck his penis more than two months earlier.
7 The court found that the time, content, and circumstances
of the statements provided sufficient safeguards of
reliability. See id. § 115-10(b)(1). The court
thus ruled them admissible, provided that I.H. testified at
8 At trial, I.H. testified that she lived with her mother and
defendant. Defendant touched her with his penis where she
went to the bathroom. She called this body part her "pee
pee." Defendant's penis also touched her butt and
9 On cross-examination, I.H. testified that she had met
several times with various people in preparation for her
testimony. She had been brought into the courtroom with no
one else present and told what to expect during the trial.
She did not recall her kindergarten teacher asking her if
anything bad was happening to her. She did not remember
seeing a doctor. She did remember telling her teacher that
something bad had happened to her. Paszotta and Heilmeister
testified as they had at the section 115-10 hearing.
10 Detective Mark Nachman testified that defendant
voluntarily went to the De Kalb police station, where Nachman
interviewed him. The pair took the elevator to an interview
room on the second floor. Defendant was able to walk without
assistance and had no apparent difficulty with his balance.
11 Defendant was agitated at first, claiming that everyone
knew what was going on but him. Nachman said that he believed
that inappropriate things had happened between defendant and
I.H. Defendant angrily denied the allegations, calling them
"disgusting" and "gross." Nachman said
that it was possible that ...