State v. John O.
Case law, read in conjunction with the text of the risk of injury statute, C.G.S. §53-21(a)(2), served to warn a potential violator that the deliberate touching of the intimate parts of a child in a sexual and indecent manner is prohibited. The jury reasonably could have found the following facts. The defendant, John O., drove the mother of a five year old boy and the victim, a three year old girl, to an appointment at a clinic. The children waited in the car with him. A passing patient testified to observing the defendant, inter alia, manipulating or massing the crotch… of the victim. He reported his observations to a counselor in the clinic. The counselor investigated. She testified to seeing the defendant, among other things, moving his hand, his whole hand, up and down her bottom and kiss the victim on her mouth with his mouth open. Following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of C.G.S. §53a-73a (a)(1)(A) and risk of injury to a child in violation of C.G.S. §53-21(a)(2). The defendant appealed raising several claims. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Sufficient evidence was presented to convict the defendant of the sexual assault charge. The defendant argued that the state failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he had contact with the victim for the purpose of his own sexual gratification as required. Precedent establishes that a defendants intent to obtain sexual gratification from his contact with a victim can be based on his choosing to touch the victims vagina. Testimony regarding the kiss was further evidence of the defendants purpose. C.G.S. §53-21(a)(2) was not unconstitutionally vague as applied to the defendant. In the 1980 case of State v. Pickering, the Supreme Court rejected a claim that the morals provision of C.G.S. §53-21 was unconstitutionally vague. C.G.S. §53-21 was amended. By using the Supreme Courts description of conduct that clearly and unambiguously violated the pre-existing statute, the legislature gave equally clear and unambiguous notice of the future scope and requirements of the statute as amended. The defendants deliberate contact with the victims intimate parts was clearly proscribed by the statute. It was of no moment that such contact occurred only once in a public location.