The Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld convictions in two separate cases against Davenport serial child sex offender Melvin T. Lucier.
In July 2015, the 57-year-old was convicted by a Scott County jury of second-degree sexual abuse for fondling a developmentally delayed five-year-old girl in February 2014.
A month later, he was convicted of two counts of second-degree sexual abuse for fondling a then-seven-year-old girl multiple times between 2011 and 2012.
Lucier argued on appeal in the first case that District Court Judge Joel Barrows should not have allowed the testimony of a child abuse physician, who said that the 5-year-old girl had told her about the abuse during an exam.
He argued that the testimony was “inadmissible hearsay.” He also argued that his attorney, Michael Motto Jr., was ineffective because he did not raise an objection to the doctor’s testimony.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the admission of the testimony, saying that it is allowed under the medical treatment or diagnosis exception of the hearsay rule.
The Court of Appeals also ruled that Motto did not “breach an essential duty in failing to make a Confrontation Clause challenge” to the judge’s admission of the girl's statements through the physician.
In the second case, Lucier argued that the evidence presented at his bench trial did not sufficiently establish that he abused the girl or that more than one sex act occurred.
He also argued that his attorney did not move to have the judge recused from the case because he presided over his first trial.
The court of appeals rejected both arguments.
Lucier is serving seven sentences of life without the possibility of parole, plus 50 years, for sexually abusing the two girls, as well as a third girl and a boy.
The Court of Appeals in November upheld his conviction in the case involving the third girl.
According to police reports, the investigation into Lucier began in August 2011, when a Davenport parent came forward to claim that he and James E. Faler sexually abused his three young children.
The two lived at Lot 19 at the Patriot Mobile Home Trailer Park, 4847 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport.
Faler, 51, was arrested in May 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky, after police discovered he was in violation of sex offender registry requirements. Police also discovered sexually explicit material of several young boys at the trailer in Davenport.
Faler was sentenced to life plus 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to five counts of sexual exploitation of a child in U.S. District Court, Davenport.
Lucier was arrested in March 2014. Scott County Sheriff's deputies led a sweep of the trailer park with help from Davenport police, U.S. Marshals, Iowa Department of Human Services and the Iowa Department of Corrections.
Two other sex offenders and five women were arrested and later sentenced to prison in the case.
Prosecutors say the women allowed their children to stay with registered sex offenders.
The case against a sixth woman was dismissed after a judge ruled that she was not competent to stand trial and could not be restored to competency.