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Convictions stand related to ‘upskirt’ photographs of teens

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The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld the attempted child exploitation convictions of a man who used a camera to take pictures up females' skirts at an Indianapolis mall.

David Delagrange wandered around Castleton Square Mall in 2010 for eight hours trying to take “upskirt” photographs of women and girls as they shopped. He would put his foot in between a person’s legs and take a picture using a camera on his shoe. The images showed the area under the skirt and between the legs of the victims but did not show any uncovered genitals. Three of the victims were 17; one was 15 years old.

He appealed his convictions of four counts of Class C felony attempted child exploitation, which a majority on the Court of Appeals reversed, reasoning that the child exploitation statute requires the child’s genitals be uncovered with the intent to satisfy sexual desires.  

Delagrange argued that because the state presented no evidence that any of the images he captured depict uncovered genitals, it failed to prove an element of the charged offense. His argument might have merit if he was charged with child exploitation, Justice Mark Massa wrote, but he was charged with attempted child exploitation.

The state had to show that he took a “substantial step” toward capturing images of uncovered genitals.

“[C]an a jury infer that someone taking ‘upskirt’ photographs of women and girls by means of a concealed shoe camera does so in the hope that some of them will not be wearing undergarments? We say yes,” Massa wrote.

“Finally, we note that Delagrange’s trial counsel repeatedly drew a parallel between the images Delagrange captured with his ersatz equipment and a famous photograph of Marilyn Monroe standing over an air vent. This analogy was unpersuasive for a lack of similarity between a photograph of a knowing and consenting adult and a video of an unknowing and unconsenting child. The former is legal; the latter is not,” he wrote.

The case is David S. Delagrange v. State of Indiana, 49S04-1304-CR-249.
 

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