U.S. v. Boisvert
Involvement of an actual minor is not required, to convict a defendant on charges of allegedly using interstate commerce to attempt to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity. The government charged the defendant, Eugene Boisvert, with allegedly engaging in sexually explicit Internet chat with an individual who purported to be a 14-year-old girl and who actually was a detective. A jury convicted Boisvert of using a means of interstate commerce to attempt to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity and traveling for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct. The District Court sentenced Boisvert to 136 months. Boisvert appealed. Boisvert argued it was impossible for him to entice a minor, because there was no minor. "A defense of legal impossibility would afford Boisvert no relief," wrote the 2nd Circuit, "because the trial evidence makes clear that his plan in sending sexually explicit messages to a presumptive 14-year-old girl, and then traversing state lines to meet her at a public beach, was to engage a minor in sexual conduct." Boisvert received the opportunity to argue that he possessed an innocent intent and planned to scare the 14-year-old girl away from chatrooms and to contact her family. The fact that the jury did not credit Boisvert's testimony did not mean that he did not receive the opportunity to present the defense that he was innocent. Boisvert also argued the District Court wrongly applied a two-level enhancement for obstruction of justice. The District Court found that Boisvert's testimony that he drove to meet the minor only so that he could inform her parents she was communicating with adults was "patently false." Boisvert previously had admitted that he was lonely and wanted to meet the purported 14-year-old at the beach. The 2nd Circuit found that the two-level enhancement for obstruction of justice was merited. At sentencing, the District Court considered Boisvert's juvenile commission of child sexual abuse, his failure to accept responsibility, his obstruction of justice, and the risk of recidivism. The sentence was substantively reasonable, and the 2nd Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court, Bryant, J.