A man convicted of five counts of molesting an 8-year-old girl on repeated occasions should only have been convicted of two counts, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
A jury in Marion Superior Court convicted Cesar Chavez of five counts of Class A felony child molestation after hearing evidence that he inappropriately kissed and touched a child his wife was babysitting. He was sentenced to serve an aggregate four years in prison.
“We hold that the State’s five counts for child molesting were in violation of the continuing crime doctrine. Applying that doctrine to the facts in this case, we hold that Chavez committed two chargeable crimes, not five,” Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote for the court in Cesar Chavez v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1211-CR-892.
“Accordingly, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand with instructions that the trial court vacate Chavez’s convictions under Counts II, III, and V.”
Chavez also argued that identically worded charging information for each of the five counts violated due process. Friedlander wrote that because the argument rests on double jeopardy, the issue was addressed under his continuing crime claim. The court also found, however, that Chavez had not preserved his objection to the charging information.