The Iowa Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction of a man for alleged sexual abuse in Black Hawk County. Gerry Jacobsen was charged with sexual abuse and indecent contact with a child based on claims made in 2004 by his eleven-year-old adopted daughter.
The girl said Jacobsen had improperly touched her while she was in bed at the La Porte City home. The first jury that heard the case could not reach a verdict, but the second jury convicted Jacobsen on one count of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of indecent contact with a child.
Jacobsen filed an appeal saying his attorney was ineffective for failing to challenge the use of photographs taken at his Tama County home where he had moved after the alleged abuse. While they were not from the home where the alleged abuse took place, prosecutors said the photos showed how Jacobsen could look into the bathroom at the girl.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled the evidence in this case is far from overwhelming, saying the daughter’s account of what occurred when she was five or six years old changed repeatedly. The court said there was no physical evidence of the alleged abuse, and the photos from Tama County could have prejudiced the jury by, painting Jacobsen as a “creepy, peeping Tom,” years after he allegedly sexually abused his daughter.
For those reasons, the court overturned Jacobsen’s conviction and 25-year prison term.
See the complete ruling here: Jacobsen ruling PDF