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Appeals court affirms molester’s conviction, splits on probation restriction

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A man’s 15-year executed prison sentence for a conviction of child molesting was affirmed by a Court of Appeals panel Tuesday, but one judge found the conditional probation restrictions on activities involving children unconstitutionally vague.

In Anthony Scott Bratcher v. State of Indiana, 90A02-1301-CR-3, the appeals panel affirmed the Class B-felony conviction imposed in Wells Circuit Court after Bratcher pleaded guilty to molesting a 5-year-old girl when he was 18.

The panel found the sentence was not inappropriate and that Bratcher had not received the maximum sentence because five years of the 20-year term was suspended to probation.

“While Bratcher’s troubled childhood that resulted in juvenile adjudications and placement in juvenile facilities is a consideration in a review of his character, so too is his behavior while in those juvenile facilities,” Judge Rudolph R. Pyle III wrote for the panel that included judges Michael Barnes and Terry Crone.

“Bratcher repeatedly violated probation under his various dispositional orders. Most significant of all these violations was that Bratcher committed child molesting while on juvenile probation for theft,” prior to the instant case.

Crone concurred in the opinion except for its ruling affirming a condition of probation that restricted his interaction with children. The condition: "You shall not participate in any activity which involves children under 18 years of age, such as, but not limited to, youth groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, 4-H, YMCA, YWCA, or youth sports teams, unless given permission by the Court."    

As he did in Collins v. State, 911 N.E.2d 700, 707 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), trans. denied, Crone wrote in a one-paragraph dissent, “I believe that condition is unconstitutionally vague. Therefore, I respectfully dissent as to that issue.”



 


 

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