from the Judgment of Sentence April 15, 2016 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Allegheny County Criminal Division at No:
from the Order July 22, 2016 In the Court of Common Pleas of
Allegheny County Criminal Division at No: CP-02-0009746-2015
BEFORE: STABILE, J., SOLANO, J., and FITZGERALD, J.
John David Woeber, appeals from the judgment of sentence
imposed on April 15, 2016, in the Court of Common Pleas of
Allegheny County following his convictions of rape, sexual
assault, and related crimes,  all stemming from events
involving A.R. when she was between 12 and 14 years old.
Appellant also appeals from the order entered on July 22,
2016, adjudicating him a sexually violent predator
("SVP"). By order entered on December 16, 2016, we
consolidated the appeals. For the reasons stated herein, we
vacate the judgment of sentence and remand for further
proceedings. Appellant asks us to consider four issues, which
we have reordered for ease of discussion:
I. Whether the [t]rial [c]ourt erred by excluding highly
exculpatory and contradictory testimony from the accuser in
this case, where the case turned on the accuser's
credibility and where the exclusion of such testimony ran
afoul of [Appellant's] right to confront and
cross-examine witnesses against him.
II. Whether the [t]rial [c]ourt erred in concluding that
[Appellant] qualified as a sexually violent predator where
the court relied upon contradictory evidence in finding that
[Appellant] suffered from a specific mental abnormality.
III. Whether the prosecutor's improper vouching for the
accuser in this case so prejudiced [Appellant] that thejury
was unable to render a fair and impartial verdict in this
IV. Whether the [t]rial [c]ourt abused its discretion by
denying [Appellant's] request for a new trial, or, in the
alternative, in ruling on the request without an evidentiary
Appellant's Brief at 4.
first issue, Appellant presents a challenge to the trial
court's ruling on admissibility of evidence. As our
Supreme Court has explained, "[t]he admissibility of
evidence is a matter solely within the discretion of the
trial court. This Court will reverse an evidentiary ruling
only where a clear abuse of discretion occurs."
Commonwealth v. Johnson, 638 A.2d 940, 942 (Pa.
1994) (citation omitted)). "Generally, an appellate
court's standard of review of a trial court's
evidentiary rulings is whether the trial court abused its
discretion; however, where the evidentiary ruling turns on a
question of law our review is plenary." Buckman v.
Verazin, 54 A.3d 956, 960 (Pa. Super. 2012) (citations
order to examine the propriety of the trial court's
evidentiary ruling, we must consider the factual background
of this case. Having reviewed the record, we find the trial
court fairly summarized the trial testimony as follows:
At trial, the victim in this case, fifteen year old [A.R.]
testified that in 2013, while she was twelve years old, she
was friends with [La. and Li.] Woeber, two daughters of
Appellant, John Woeber. [A.R.] testified that she went to
[Li.'s] birthday party in the spring of 2013. She
testified that Appellant had sexual intercourse with her
against her will at the party. She stated that she was
invited over for salmon ([Li.'s] favorite meal) and cake.
After dinner, others present were drinking alcohol but [A.R.]
was not until [Li.] gave [A.R.] a drink that [A.R.] did not
know contained alcohol. Shortly after drinking the one cup
that [Li.] gave [A.R.], [A.R.] was accosted in
Appellant's residence by a group of boys. The boys tried
to pull her clothes off. Appellant interceded and stopped the
boys from doing anything further to [A.R.]. The boys left the
apartment, along with [La. and Li.], leaving Appellant and
[A.R.] alone in Appellant's apartment. [A.R.] fell asleep
on the couch, and was awoken by Appellant, who told her to go
to his bedroom to process what had happened to her. She was
able to walk to his bedroom but "felt like everything
was a little bit blurry." Once she reached
Appellant's bedroom, Appellant got on top of her and
tried to take her clothes off. [A.R.] stated that she told
him no and he left for a minute or two into the bathroom.
When Appellant came back into the room, wearing only boxers,
he got on top [of] her again, removed her shorts and
underwear and his boxers, and had sexual intercourse with
her. [A.R.] stated that she does not remember what happened
after that, until she awoke the next morning on
Appellant's bed wearing only her tank top.
[A.R.] further testified to a prior incident in the Woeber
home. She stated that she was hanging out with [La. and Li.]
at their house. In the middle of the night, Appellant came
into the bathroom while [A.R.] was washing her hands. She
testified that he pushed her up against the vanity, touched
her breasts and groped her. She did not tell anyone about
this incident because she felt scared and in disbelief.
After the second incident, Appellant, [La. and Li.] moved
back to Alaska for approximately six months. Upon their
return, [A.R.] resumed her friendship with [La. and Li.] and
again frequented the Woeber residence. [A.R.] testified that
she attended a party there when she was thirteen years old.
[A.R.] stated that Appellant supplied her and other underage
attendees with alcohol and had sexual intercourse with her on
the couch that night. He undressed her and penetrated her
vagina with his penis. She didn't tell anyone what
happened because she didn't want to answer questions
about why she returned to the Woeber household. She testified
that she had returned to the home because she was told
Appellant would not be in the home and she wanted to remain
friends with [Li. and La.]. After the third incident, [A.R.]
experienced panic attacks and struggled academically. [A.R.]
disclosed the abuse to her school guidance counselor in the
spring of 2015.
[Li. and La.] both testified on behalf of their father. [Li.]
denied any underage drinking and said she never saw or heard
any inappropriate sexual contact between Appellant and
[A.R.]. [La.] also denied underage drinking at [Li.'s]
party. She testified that nothing unusual happened that
night. She further testified that the second party testified
to by [A.R.], where [A.R.] said Appellant raped her a second
time, simply never happened.
Lastly, Appellant denied ever touching [A.R.]
inappropriately. He also denied ever having permitted boys
into his home or providing alcohol to minors.
Rule 1925(a) Opinion, 11/15/16, at 4-5 (references to Notes
of Testimony omitted).
alleged prior inconsistent and exculpatory statement
attributed to A.R. is her statement to La. that "two
other boys" raped her at Li's birthday party. N.T.
Trial, 1/13/16, at 78. On direct examination, the prosecutor
asked A.R. if she ever spoke with La. or Li. about the
parties. Id. at 52. A.R. responded, "Yeah. They
had said that they didn't remember any party
cross-examination, the following exchange took place between
Appellant's counsel and A.R.:
Q. So you were asking [La.] about, you say, the party that
happened at their house, and she said, "What
A. Yeah. She denied it.
Q. You didn't tell her that something happened at that
party where her father had raped you, did you?
Q. Did you tell her, in fact, that other boys had raped you
at that party?
Q. You don't remember saying that ...