An 11-year-old boy adjudicated delinquent for acts that would be Class B and Class C felony child molesting if committed by an adult failed to persuade a Court of Appeals panel Friday that statutes as applied to him are unconstitutionally vague and the evidence didn’t support a true finding.
The case stemmed from instances in which 11-year-old T.G. touched the genitals of a six-year-old girl while the two were at a daycare center operated by T.G.’s mother. T.G. argued that “the evidence that is sufficient to establish intent to arouse or satisfy sexual desire in the case of an adult perpetrator is insufficient in the case of a child perpetrator,” according to the opinion written by Judge Terry Crone.
Crone wrote that because T.G. was significantly older than the girl, they “cannot be considered peers,” and that circumstances in T.G.’s case included repeated incidents of fondling that could lead a reasonable fact-finder to find beyond a reasonable doubt that T.G. met the statutory requirements of committing the acts to arouse or satisfy sexual desires.
“We stress that in other cases, different or additional factors may be present that shed light on the accused child’s intent,” Crone wrote in T.G. v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1305-JV-238.
The panel also turned away arguments the statutes are unconstitutionally vague and fail to provide notice of conduct prohibited for children who might not know that prohibited touching is of a sexual nature.
"We do not think that such a possibility renders the statute void for vagueness for the following reason. If a child does not know that an act would result in sexual arousal or desire, then that child could not have the required intent to have committed child molesting. If a child knows that an act would result in sexual arousal or desire, then the Child Molesting Statute provides sufficient notice to the child that such an act is prohibited," Crone wrote.
"We conclude that T.G. has failed to carry his burden to show that the Child Molesting Statute authorizes or encourages arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement. Therefore, we reject his contention that it is void for vagueness."