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Court upholds child molester's no-contact condition

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a man convicted of two child molesting counts didn’t have his constitutional rights violated because no double jeopardy violation occurred, and the trial judge’s probation condition that he have no contact with anyone younger than 18 is constitutional.

The case involves allegations that Ronald Rexroat molested the daughter of his friends in 2009. The girl told her mom that he touched her on three separate occasions, and the mom reported the allegations to the Indiana Department of Child Services. The state in 2010 charged Rexroat with two Class C felonies, which were two identically worded counts. A jury found him guilty of both, and the trial court sentenced him to six years on each count to be served concurrently, with three years suspended to probation. One of the probation conditions was that Rexroat have no face-to-face, telephonic, electronic or indirect contact with anyone under age 18 unless first approved.

Rexroat appealed his sentence on double jeopardy grounds and also the probation condition that he alleged was overbroad and a violation of his First Amendment rights.

In Ronald Rexroat v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1107-CR-594, the Court of Appeals found that Rexroat failed to show any double jeopardy violation under the Indiana or U.S. constitutions. Specifically, the “same elements” test adopted by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1932 doesn’t apply here. As for the state claim, the Indiana Supreme Court in 1999 held that that the second charge must be for the same, identical act and crime as the first offense and that’s not what happened here. The two counts arose from two separate incidents, and so the statutory elements test does not apply.

Turning to the probation condition claim, the appellate panel disagreed that Rexroat’s constitutional rights have been violated. The court looked to its Smith v. State, 727 N.E.2d 763, 767 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), ruling that adopted a three-prong test to determine whether a probation condition requiring the defendant to avoid all contact with minors was unduly intrusive on constitutional rights.

Rexroat ignored the Smith holding, the court wrote, and he hasn’t shown the probation condition regarding contact with minors is unconstitutional.

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