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Timothy HOFF, Appellant-Defendant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
Case Summary and Issues
 Timothy Hoff pleaded guilty to child molesting, a Level 1 felony. The trial court sentenced him to thirty-five years executed in the Indiana Department of Correction (“DOC”). Hoff now appeals, raising two issues for our review which we restate as: (1) whether the trial court abused its discretion by considering Hoff's risk assessment score as an aggravating circumstance; and (2) whether Hoff's sentence is inappropriate given the nature of the offense and the character of the offender. Concluding that sufficient valid aggravating circumstances support Hoff's enhanced sentence and Hoff's sentence is not inappropriate given the nature of his offense and his character, we affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
 On March 16, 2021, eleven-year-old M. informed one of her teachers that Hoff had raped her. Hoff is M.’s cousin and was living with M. and their grandmother at the time.1 After M.’s teacher contacted the police, M. told police that she had sexual encounters with Hoff on at least seven occasions beginning in March or April of 2020. These encounters included oral sex, Hoff penetrating her anus and vagina with his fingers, and an unsuccessful attempt by Hoff to penetrate her vagina with his penis.
 On March 22, 2021, the State charged Hoff with nine counts of child molesting as Level 1 felonies and one count of child molesting as a Level 4 felony. Subsequently, Hoff entered into an open plea agreement wherein Hoff agreed to plead guilty to one count of Level 1 felony child molesting, and in return the remainder of his charges were dismissed.2 See Appellant's Appendix, Volume II at 78. The trial court accepted Hoff's guilty plea and ordered the probation department to prepare a presentence investigation report (“PSI”). The probation department utilized the Indiana Risk Assessment System (“IRAS”) in the PSI and determined that Hoff's “overall risk assessment score puts [him] in the HIGH risk category to reoffend.” Id. at 66.
 On December 1, 2021, the trial court held a sentencing hearing. The trial court found Hoff's minimal criminal history, his remorse, and his plea agreement to be mitigating circumstances. As aggravating circumstances, the trial court found that Hoff violated probation in the past, violated a position of trust, had repeated sexual contacts with the victim, and is “listed as a high risk to [re]offend.” Transcript of Evidence, Volume 2 at 23. The trial court determined the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances. The trial court then sentenced Hoff to thirty-five years to be executed in the DOC. Hoff now appeals. Additional facts will be provided as necessary.
Discussion and Decision
I. Abuse of Discretion in Sentencing 3
A. Standard of Review
 Sentencing determinations are within the trial court's discretion and will be reversed for an abuse of discretion. Harris v. State, 964 N.E.2d 920, 926 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012), trans. denied. An abuse of discretion occurs if the decision is “clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before the court, or the reasonable, probable, and actual deductions to be drawn therefrom.” Gross v. State, 22 N.E.3d 863, 869 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014) (citation omitted), trans. denied. The trial court can abuse its discretion by: (1) issuing an inadequate sentencing statement, (2) finding aggravating or mitigating circumstances that are not supported by the record, (3) omitting circumstances that are clearly supported by the record and advanced for consideration, (4) or by finding circumstances that are improper as a matter of law. Anglemyer v. State, 868 N.E.2d 482, 490-91 (Ind. 2007), clarified on reh'g, 875 N.E.2d 218 (Ind. 2007).
B. Aggravating Circumstances
 Hoff contends “the trial court abused its discretion by finding Hoff's [IRAS] score an aggravating circumstance that supported imposing an enhanced sentence.” Brief of Appellant at 11. Our supreme court has stated:
[O]ffender assessment instruments are appropriate supplemental tools for judicial consideration at sentencing. These evaluations and their scores are not intended to serve as aggravating or mitigating circumstances nor to determine the gross length of sentence, but a trial court may employ such results in formulating the manner in which a sentence is to be served.
Malenchik v. State, 928 N.E.2d 564, 575 (Ind. 2010) (emphasis added); see also Morrell v. State, 118 N.E.3d 793, 798 (Ind. Ct. App. 2019) (finding that the trial court's use of an IRAS score as an aggravating circumstance constituted error), clarified on reh'g, 121 N.E.3d 577 (Ind. Ct. App. 2019), trans. denied.
 Here, the trial court did not reference the IRAS score explicitly when it identified Hoff's high risk to reoffend as an aggravating circumstance. But the trial court did state that Hoff is “listed as a high risk to [re]offend.” Tr., Vol. 2 at 23 (emphasis added). The trial court's use of the term listed leads us to believe that it is referencing the IRAS score rather than reaching its own conclusion that Hoff has a high risk of reoffending. However, even if the trial court did impermissibly consider the IRAS score as an aggravating circumstance, other aggravating circumstances identified by the trial court and not challenged by Hoff are sufficient to support his enhanced sentence. See Pickens v. State, 767 N.E.2d 530, 535 (Ind. 2002) (holding that “[e]ven when a trial court improperly applies an aggravator, a sentence enhancement may be upheld if other valid aggravators exist.”).
 The trial court found multiple aggravating circumstances including that Hoff has violated probation, had repeat sexual contacts with the victim, and had violated a position of trust. See Singer v. State, 674 N.E.2d 11, 14 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996) (stating that “[a]busing a ‘position of trust’ is, by itself, a valid aggravator which supports the maximum enhancement of a sentence for child molesting”). Because these valid aggravating circumstances support the enhancement of Hoff's sentence, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Hoff.
II. Inappropriate Sentence
A. Standard of Review
 Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B) permits us to revise a sentence “if, after due consideration of the trial court's decision, [we] find[ ] that the sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender.” Sentencing is “principally a discretionary function” of the trial court to which we afford great deference. Cardwell v. State, 895 N.E.2d 1219, 1222 (Ind. 2008). “Such deference should prevail unless overcome by compelling evidence portraying in a positive light the nature of the offense (such as accompanied by restraint, regard, and lack of brutality) and the defendant's character (such as substantial virtuous traits or persistent examples of good character).” Stephenson v. State, 29 N.E.3d 111, 122 (Ind. 2015). An evaluation of the nature of the offense and character of the offender are separate inquiries that are ultimately balanced to determine whether a sentence is inappropriate. Reis v. State, 88 N.E.3d 1099, 1102 (Ind. Ct. App. 2017).
 The defendant carries the burden of persuading us that the sentence imposed by the trial court is inappropriate, Childress v. State, 848 N.E.2d 1073, 1080 (Ind. 2006), and we may consider any factors appearing in the record in making such a determination, Reis, 88 N.E.3d at 1102. The question under Rule 7(B) is “not whether another sentence is more appropriate; rather, the question is whether the sentence imposed is inappropriate.” King v. State, 894 N.E.2d 265, 268 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008). “The principal role of appellate review should be to attempt to leaven the outliers ․ not to achieve a perceived ‘correct’ result in each case.” Cardwell, 895 N.E.2d at 1225.
B. Nature of the Offense
 Our analysis of the nature of the offense starts with the advisory sentence. Reis, 88 N.E.3d at 1104. The advisory sentence is the starting point selected by the legislature as an appropriate sentence for the crime committed. Childress, 848 N.E.2d at 1081. Here, Hoff pleaded guilty to child molesting as a Level 1 felony and was sentenced to thirty-five years to be executed in the DOC. Pursuant to Indiana Code section 35-50-2-4, a person who commits a Level 1 felony shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between twenty and forty years, with an advisory sentence of thirty years.
 When evaluating a defendant's sentence that deviates from the advisory sentence, we consider whether there is anything more or less egregious about the offense as committed by the defendant that distinguishes it from the typical offense accounted for by our legislature when it set the advisory sentence. Moyer v. State, 83 N.E.3d 136, 142 (Ind. Ct. App. 2017), trans. denied.
 Hoff argues that the number of sexual encounters between him and M. does not support an enhanced sentence. Hoff cites previous cases in which the perpetrators molested their victim more frequently than he did to support his argument. See Br. of Appellant at 14 (citing Harris v. State, 897 N.E.2d 927 (Ind. 2008); Sharp v. State, 970 N.E.2d 647 (Ind. 2012); Cruz Angeles v. State, 751 N.E.2d 790 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001), trans. denied). However, Hoff engaged in sexual acts with M. at least seven times within a span of twelve months. Given the ongoing nature of Hoff's offense we are unpersuaded that his sentence, which is in between the advisory and the maximum, was inappropriate. Harris, 897 N.E.2d at 930.
 Hoff concedes that his actions violated a position of trust with M., but he contends that an enhanced sentence is inappropriate because there is “no evidence the relationship was a particularly close one.”4 Br. of Appellant at 14. However, as M.’s older cousin, Hoff is her adult relative. See Rose v. State, 36 N.E.3d 1055, 1064 (Ind. Ct. App. 2015) (finding that the great-uncle of the victim was in a position of trust). Further, Hoff lived in the same house as M. for several months, and the record indicates that M. had been left in Hoff's care at least once. See Appellant's App., Vol. II at 15-17. Therefore, Hoff was in a position of trust and an enhanced sentence was not inappropriate. See Edrington v. State, 909 N.E.2d 1093, 1101 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), trans. denied.
 Given the frequency of Hoff's sexual acts with M. and his violation of a position of trust, the nature of Hoff's offense does not render his sentence inappropriate.
C. Character of the Offender
 Hoff also argues that his sentence is inappropriate given his character. We conduct our review of a defendant's character by engaging in a broad consideration of his or her qualities. Madden v. State, 162 N.E.3d 549, 564 (Ind. Ct. App. 2021). A defendant's life and conduct are illustrative of his or her character. Id. When considering the character of the offender, one relevant consideration is the defendant's criminal history, Rutherford v. State, 866 N.E.2d 867, 874 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), and “[t]he significance of [a defendant's] criminal history varies based on the gravity, nature, and number of prior offenses in relation to the current offense[,]” Johnson v. State, 986 N.E.2d 852, 857 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013).
 Hoff's criminal history includes two prior convictions: operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person, a Class A misdemeanor, and residential entry, a Level 6 felony.5 Further, Hoff violated probation in his residential entry cause. These offenses are minor in nature and unrelated in time, gravity, or nature to his current crimes; however, even a minor criminal record is indicative of poor character. Reis, 88 N.E.3d at 1105. Thus, Hoff's criminal record is reflective of poor character.
 Therefore, given the nature of the offense and the character of the offender, we cannot say Hoff has persuaded us that his sentence is inappropriate.
 We conclude that sufficient valid aggravating circumstances support Hoff's enhanced sentence and Hoff's sentence is not inappropriate given the nature of the offense and the character of the offender. Accordingly, we affirm.
1. At the time Hoff was thirty-six years old. Further, Hoff told police that he lived with his grandmother until April 2020 then briefly moved out before returning July 2020 and remaining there until his arrest. See Appellant's Appendix, Volume II at 17. It is unclear from the record when his first initial move-in was.
2. In exchange for Hoff's guilty plea in this cause, the State also dismissed charges under cause 50D02-2102-CM-129.
4. Hoff also contends that his “offense involved no threats to the victim or physical injury.” Br. of Appellant at 11. However, “the absence of physical injury does not bar an enhanced sentence[.]” Walker v. State, 747 N.E.2d 536, 538 (Ind. 2001). Further, Hoff presents no case law suggesting his lack of verbal threats to M. mitigate his offense.
5. At the time of Hoff's arrest in this case, he had two other charges pending: operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person and operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to .15 of more, both Class A misdemeanors. Hoff was not convicted of these charges due to his guilty plea.
Pyle, J., and Weissmann, J., concur.
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Docket No: Court of Appeals Case No. 22A-CR-8
Decided: August 29, 2022
Court: Court of Appeals of Indiana.
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