The Tenth Circuit affirmed the conviction of a man for child sexual abuse after deciding that the trial court correctly admitted evidence of a 1995 conviction for sexual assault of a minor. You can read the opinion here: http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/09/09-8079.pdf
In United States v. Batton, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 8509, the defendant was convicted of taking a fourteen year old boy to Chicago and sexually assaulting him. The defendant appealed his conviction and complained that the trial judge should have excluded evidence of a 1995 conviction for child molestation. The Tenth Circuit examined Federal Rule of Evidence 413 and held that the district court properly admitted evidence of a conviction for a similar sexual assault in 1995.
Typically, evidence of prior acts that are similar to the act a person is accused of are excluded from evidence. Federal Rule of Evidence 403(A). However, Rule 413 is directed specifically toward defendants being prosecuted for sexual assault. Rule 414 allows admission of prior acts in child molestation cases. The reasoning for the rules, as the Court explained, is that evidence other than testimony is many times unavailable in prosecutions of child molestation cases and child molestation is often a repeated act. As the Tenth Circuit stated:
As we noted in United States v. Enjady, 134 F.3d 1427
(10th Cir. 1998), Congress enacted these rules because these types of cases often
raise questions regarding the victim’s credibility and a defendant’s prior conduct
can be especially probative. Id. at 1431. Additionally, the rules are “based on the
premise that evidence of other sexual assaults is highly relevant to prove
propensity to commit like crimes.” Id.