Wyo Man Who Had Sex With 15-Year-Old Cousin In Walmart Bathroom After Meeting At Funeral Loses Appeal

The Wyoming Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a man convicted of having sex with his 15-year-old cousin in a Walmart bathroom in Sheridan.

Jim Angell

June 21, 20224 min read

Wyo supreme court
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A man convicted of having sex with his minor cousin in a Walmart bathroom has lost his bid to have his conviction overturned.

The Wyoming Supreme Court rejected the arguments of David Edward Ingersoll that a police officer should not have been allowed to offer testimony on the “grooming” process often used by perpetrators of sex crimes against children.

According to the ruling, written by state District Judge Tori Kricken, Ingersoll met his cousin, identified as “SS,” at a family funeral in 2019 when he was 48 and she was 15.

The two communicated regularly via social media, the opinion said, and Ingersoll told the girl he loved her, would marry her and “have sex .. every night.”

The girl posted a picture on social media showing her with Ingersoll and referring to him as her best friend.

According to the ruling, around July 4, 2019, SS was at a Sheridan Walmart with her parents and older sister, identified as “VL,” when she she separated from her family. Ingersoll followed her and when she passed by the store’s family bathroom, he pulled her into it and had sex with her.

The girl told VL she had sex with Ingersoll and VL told their mother, but their mother did not believe VL.

Three days later, VL told her counselor about SS and Ingersoll, but SS denied the report. The counselor forwarded the information to the Department of Family Services, which in turn reported it to the Sheridan Police Department. However, when SS again denied the report, the Sheridan police investigation was halted.

In October 2019, SS gave her teacher a letter detailing her encounter with Ingersoll. The teacher told her parents and school staff and the staff reported it to Sheridan police, who reopened the case.

After the investigation, Ingersoll was convicted by a jury of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and was sentenced to 16 to 20 years in prison.

Ingersoll said the investigating officer’s testimony about “grooming” constituted an improper opinion of Ingersoll’s guilt and should not have been allowed in his trial.

But justices rejected the argument.

“(The officer’s) testimony did not improperly opine as to Mr. Ingersoll’s guilt,” the opinion said. “He informed the jury that child sexual offenders often groom their victims and defined the provided examples of grooming.”

While the officer’s examples included several of what he called “signs” or “indications” that Ingersoll was grooming SS, he never said Ingersoll was grooming the girl or that he sexually abused her, the opinion said.

Justices also disagreed with Ingersoll some witnesses improperly vouched for the credibility o other witnesses in his case.

In one case, SS said that after she wrote the letter detailing the incident, her mother came to believe her sister was telling the truth about SS and Ingersoll.

In another, the counselor who initially reported the incident to the DFS testified she did not know until much later what was alleged to have occurred.

In both cases, Ingersoll claimed the testimony amounted to the witnesses vouching for the credibility of each other in violation of court rules.

But justices found that none of the testimony offered vouched for the accuracy of what other witnesses said.

“Because the state’s witnesses did not vouch for the credibility of other witnesses or offer opinions as to his guilt, Mr. Ingersoll failed to establish the district court committed plain error by allowing the subject testimony,” the court said.

Share this article



Jim Angell