DILLARD, P. J., RAY and SELF, JJ.
Dillard, Presiding Judge.
trial, a jury convicted David Morris on one count each of
aggravated child molestation, child molestation, and
aggravated sexual battery. Morris now appeals his convictions
and the denial of his motion for new trial, arguing that the
trial court erred in (1) granting the State's motion in
limine to prohibit cross-examination of the victim's
father as to whether he suffered sexual abuse as a child, (2)
failing to limit two witnesses' child-hearsay testimony
to the specific facts to which the victim testified at trial,
and (3) admitting into evidence a drawing made by the victim
during a counseling session that the State did not produce
during discovery. For the reasons set forth infra,
we affirm Morris's convictions.
in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict,
record shows that in 2012, Morris was living in Senoia,
Coweta County, Georgia, with his wife, Jennifer, his daughter
from a previous relationship, and Jennifer's two children
from a previous relationship, nine-year-old B. A. and her
younger brother, H. A. On February 10, 2012, a friend of
Jennifer's was babysitting B. A. and H. A. after they
arrived home from school, and at some point that afternoon,
the children began fighting. Consequently, the babysitter
contacted Jennifer and Morris, and both told her to send B.
A. and H. A. to their bedrooms. The children complied, but
after a few minutes, H. A. walked into B. A.'s bedroom
and the two began talking. During this conversation, B. A.
confided to her brother that Morris had been touching her
private parts. With B. A.'s permission, her brother told
the babysitter about the sexual abuse, and when the
babysitter asked B. A. if this was true, she confirmed it.
thereafter, the babysitter called Jennifer, who rushed home
and began questioning B. A. about her allegations. Initially,
B. A. denied that Morris had sexually abused her, but
ultimately, she told her mother that what she had relayed to
her brother and the babysitter was true. Although visibly
upset, Jennifer told B. A. not to tell her father about the
sexual abuse, when she and her brother went to her
father's house later that day for their weekend
visitation. The babysitter then drove the two children to the
Pike County Sheriff's Office, as required by a
court-ordered custody settlement, where their father and his
girlfriend were waiting for them. At this time, neither the
babysitter nor Jennifer informed law enforcement about B.
same night, H. A. told his father about the sexual abuse B.
A. had disclosed to him earlier in the afternoon. The
children's father then asked B. A. if what her brother
had told him was true, and although B. A. initially denied
it, she eventually admitted to her father that Morris had, in
fact, touched her privates. Immediately, the father called
local law enforcement. And while he was reporting the
incident to the authorities, B. A. recounted details of
Morris's abuse to the father's girlfriend and also
claimed that her mother warned her that if she told anyone
else about her allegations, Morris would go to jail and her
stepsister would have to move back to Texas.
following day, a detective with the Senoia Police Department
began an investigation of B. A.'s allegations and
arranged for the child to be interviewed by a forensic social
worker a few days later. During that interview, B. A.
disclosed only one incident, in which Morris sexually abused
her by placing his hand on her privates, and she claimed that
this incident occurred when they lived in Pike County prior
to moving to Senoia. Later, the investigating detective also
interviewed B. A., but believing that the incidents of sexual
abuse occurred in Pike County (rather than Coweta County), he
closed his investigation after less than one month.
the fact that law-enforcement authorities had closed their
investigation of her allegations against Morris, B. A. began
attending regular counseling sessions with a family
therapist. And over the course of the next several months
during those sessions, B. A. disclosed that Morris had
sexually abused her on multiple occasions when the family
lived in Pike County and after they had moved to Senoia
(located in Coweta County). Specifically, B. A. described
multiple incidents in which Morris entered her bedroom late
at night and then either put his fingers inside her privates
and bottom, put his mouth on her breasts and her privates, or
put his penis in her mouth. During one of these therapy
sessions, B. A. drew a picture and described it to the
therapist as depicting her crying while Morris was putting
his penis in her mouth.
2012, B. A.'s father showed the notes from the
child's therapy sessions to the Senoia detective, and, as
a result, the detective reopened his investigation. As part
of the investigation, the detective arranged for B. A. to be
interviewed by a licensed psychologist, who had significant
experience in conducting forensic interviews of child sexual
abuse victims. During those two September 2012 interviews, B.
A. recounted many of the same details that she had disclosed
to the family therapist regarding Morris's sexual abuse
of her, including the allegations that, on multiple
occasions, Morris placed his fingers inside her privates and
buttocks and put his penis in her mouth. Following these
sessions, the psychologist diagnosed B. A. as suffering from
post-traumatic stress disorder and opined that her
disclosures were consistent with a child who had been
thereafter, the detective arrested Morris, and ultimately,
the State charged him, via indictment, with one count each of
aggravated child molestation, child molestation, and
aggravated sexual battery. The case then proceeded to trial,
during which the evidence referenced supra was
introduced, and at the trial's conclusion, the jury
convicted Morris on all three counts. Subsequently, Morris
obtained new counsel and filed a motion for new trial, which
the trial court denied following a hearing on the matter.
This appeal follows.
Morris first contends that the trial court erred in granting
the State's motion in limine to prohibit him from
cross-examining B. A.'s father regarding whether he
suffered sexual abuse as a child. We disagree.
of course, well established that "a defendant has the
right to a thorough and sifting cross-examination, but the
discretion of the trial court to determine its scope and the
relevancy of the sought testimony is
broad[.]" And indeed, the court's discretion
will not be disturbed on appeal unless it has been
abused. Bearing these guiding principles in mind,
we turn now to Morris's specific claim of error.
prior to trial, the State moved to prohibit Morris from
cross-examining B. A.'s father regarding whether he was
sexually molested as a child. Noting that there was some
evidence in the discovery materials, in which B. A.'s
father claimed to have suffered sexual abuse, the State,
nevertheless, argued that such evidence was irrelevant. But
Morris maintained that the evidence explained the zeal with
which B. A.'s father fought to have the case reopened
after the Senoia detective initially closed it. At the
conclusion of the pretrial hearing, the court took the matter
under advisement. Later, at trial (just before B. A.'s
father testified), the State sought a ruling on the issue,
and after hearing more argument, the trial court agreed that
the evidence was irrelevant, as well as confusing and
OCGA § 24-4-401,  the term "relevant evidence"
means "evidence having any tendency to make the
existence of any fact that is of consequence to the
determination of the action more probable or less probable
than it would be without the evidence." In addition,
OCGA § 24-4-402 provides:
All relevant evidence shall be admissible, except as limited
by constitutional requirements or as otherwise provided by
law or by other rules, as prescribed pursuant to
constitutional or statutory authority, applicable in the
court in which the matter is pending. Evidence which is not
relevant shall not be admissible.
while our Supreme Court has held that the relevance standard
codified by these statutes is a ...