Submitted: September 28, 2018
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Des Moines
LOKEN, BENTON, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
SHEPHERD, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
2017, a jury found Clark Wesley Betts, Jr., guilty of one
count of sex trafficking of a minor under the age of 18, one
count of sex trafficking of a minor under the age of 14, and
three counts of distribution of crack cocaine to a person
under the age of 21 in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2,
1591 and 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 859. Betts appeals
his conviction, alleging multiple evidentiary errors. Having
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and for the reasons
set forth below, we affirm the judgment of the district
early 2016, Betts, a crack cocaine addict, taught his
15-year-old daughter, T.B., how to use the drug. He began
smoking crack cocaine with T.B. multiple times a week until
she became addicted. On one occasion, while both Betts and
T.B. were high, Betts had sexual intercourse with T.B. and
told her he would continue to provide her with crack cocaine
only if she continued to have sexual intercourse with him.
Betts later asked T.B. if her 12-year-old cousin, A.K., would
be interested in smoking crack cocaine with them. T.B.
discussed the matter with A.K., and on a later date, Betts
and T.B. taught A.K. how to smoke the substance. A.K. also
became addicted to crack cocaine. During an overnight trip
with the two girls, Betts broached the topic of having sexual
intercourse with A.K., pressuring her to agree. Betts then
had sexual intercourse with T.B. in front of A.K. before
having sexual intercourse with A.K. in front of T.B. After
the trip, Betts continued to ply the girls with crack cocaine
and have sexual intercourse with them in front of each other,
at times using force or restraint to do so.
spring of 2016, Betts first brought A.K. and T.B. to the
house where he bought crack cocaine from drug dealer Vance
Cooper. Betts often lingered in the house after his purchases
to smoke with Cooper and Cooper's housemate, Robert
Terry. Betts began bringing the girls to the house to
purchase drugs and smoke with Cooper and Terry multiple times
a week. On one occasion, T.B. and A.K. performed a sexual
"dance" for Betts, Cooper, and Terry, for which
Cooper gave them crack cocaine. On another occasion, Betts
dropped A.K. off at the house so that she could exchange
sexual acts for crack cocaine for herself and Betts. Betts
agreed to allow T.B. to do the same.
thought one of T.B.'s friends, M.M., was attractive and
wanted to introduce her to Cooper. Betts brought T.B. and
M.M. to Cooper's residence and purchased crack cocaine
for them. M.M. did not exchange any sexual acts for the drugs
because she quickly had to leave, having received a phone
call from her mother.
March 2016, Betts was arrested for a probation violation. A
few months later, Cooper and Terry were arrested on federal
drug charges. Cooper identified Betts as his most frequent
customer, admitting that Betts had trafficked his female
relatives in exchange for crack cocaine. Law enforcement
conducted welfare checks on the girls. In her first forensic
interview in August 2016, A.K. denied that Betts allowed
Cooper to engage in sex with her or T.B. However, in her
second interview in February 2017, she admitted that she lied
and that the allegations were true. In April 2017, a grand
jury indicted Betts for sex trafficking and distribution of
Betts's trial, the government tied Betts's
trafficking of T.B. and A.K. to a larger pattern of grooming.
It sought to introduce evidence of an incident occurring in
March 2015, at M.M.'s birthday party, at which Betts
plied T.B., M.M., and other minor girls with alcohol and
attempted to elude a police chase. The government also wanted
to introduce evidence of Betts's prior sexual abuse of
T.B. and A.K. as well as physical violence he exhibited and
that T.B. and A.K. observed. Betts moved in limine to exclude
the evidence. The district court admitted the evidence of the
March 2015 incident and conditionally admitted evidence of
Betts's past violent behavior provided that the
government's expert linked the girls' observation of
Betts's violence to their later acquiescent behavior.
When an expert on sexual abuse victims testified that viewing
an abuser's violence makes a victim less likely to resist
or disclose abuse, the district court admitted the evidence.
government sought to exclude Betts's evidence that T.B.
and A.K. had returned to Cooper's house to exchange
sexual acts for crack cocaine after Betts's arrest and
while he was incarcerated. Pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 412, the
district court excluded the sexual component of the
testimony, allowing the jury to hear only that T.B. and A.K.
had returned to the house for drugs.
T.B. and A.K. testified at Betts's trial. During
cross-examination of A.K., defense counsel asked whether her
initial forensic interview "exonerated" Betts. The
government objected, noting the question called for a legal
conclusion. The district court sustained the objection. It
then prevented Betts's counsel, who was holding a
transcript of A.K.'s forensic interview, from going
through the transcript to point out inconsistencies between
it and her later testimony, stating, "Once she admitted
she made the inconsistent statements [in the first
interview], the extrinsic [evidence] of [them] is not
admissible[.]" The jury found Betts guilty on all