from the District Court of Ward County, North Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Richard L. Hagar, Judge.
A. Dillon, Assistant State's Attorney, Minot, ND, for
plaintiff and appellee.
A. Gereszek, East Grand Forks, MN, for defendant and
J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Dale
V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J. Opinion of the Court
by Crothers, Justice. Opinion of the Court by Crothers,
J. Crothers, Justice.
[¶1] Cameron Lee Peltier appeals after a
jury found him guilty of gross sexual imposition. Peltier
argues the district court abused its discretion in excluding
evidence of prior sexual abuse. We affirm the criminal
[¶2] Peltier was charged with gross sexual
imposition for alleged sexual contact with a minor less than
fifteen years of age. Peltier alleges the minor's mother
told law enforcement that the minor may have been touched
inappropriately by a cousin five years earlier. A forensic
interviewer allegedly asked the minor whether she had ever
been touched in a manner that made her feel unsafe and she
said she had not. Before trial Peltier moved, under N.D.R.Ev.
412, to admit evidence the minor had been sexually assaulted
by her cousin. Peltier alleged the minor's failure to
disclose a prior incident of abuse during the forensic
interview was a prior inconsistent statement and therefore
admissible under N.D.R.Ev. 613 for impeachment. The district
court found Peltier failed to establish that the minor made
inconsistent statements or that his constitutional rights
would be violated by the exclusion of such evidence. The
district court denied Peltier's motion and he appeals.
[¶3] Peltier argues the district court
abused its discretion excluding evidence of previous sexual
abuse. In our review, we recognize:
" A trial court has broad discretion on evidentiary
matters, and we will not overturn its admission or exclusion
of evidence on appeal unless that discretion has been abused.
A trial court abuses its discretion when it acts arbitrarily,
unconscionably, or unreasonably, or when its decision is not
the product of a rational mental process. Even if the trial
court commits an error on an evidentiary matter, N.D.R.Civ.P.
61 provides that '[n]o error in either the admission or
the exclusion of evidence . . . is ground for granting a new
trial or for setting aside a verdict or for vacating,
modifying or ...