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In re W.G.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

November 20, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF W.G., Minor Child, W.G., Minor Child, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark R. Fowler, District Associate Judge.

A child appeals the juvenile court order finding he engaged in the delinquent acts of indecent exposure and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

Joel Walker, Davenport, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bruce Kempkes, Assistant Attorney General, Michael J. Walton, County Attorney, and Steve Berger, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., Mullins, J., and Huitink, S.J. [*]

HUITINK, S.J.

I. Background Facts & Proceedings.

The record presented during the juvenile court hearing in this case supports the following factual findings. Shortly before A.C., who was then eleven years old, started fifth grade, he was playing by himself in a local park when an older boy, W.G., who was then fourteen years old, approach him. W.G. pushed A.C. against a gate, pulled his pants down, and touched his "privates." A.C. kicked W.G. and ran away. A similar incident occurred on the next day, but A.C. testified that on that occasion W.G. squeezed his "privates, " or testicles. A.C. kicked W.G. again and left.

A third incident occurred a few days later when W.G. pulled his own pants down and A.C. glimpsed his penis. W.G. said something to the effect of, "Do you think my private looks big?" or asked how large his penis was. A.C. walked away. A few days after that, a fourth incident occurred in which W.G. showed A.C. a knife and told him not to tell anybody. A.C. ran away from W.G.

When A.C. started fifth grade, he got in trouble at school. He was also "really aggressive" at home. A school counselor talked to A.C, and A.C. revealed the incidents that had occurred with W.G. A.C. identified W.G. for the counselor by finding his picture in a school yearbook.

The State filed a petition alleging W.G. had engaged in the delinquent acts of indecent exposure, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.9 (2011), and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, in violation of section 709.11. A hearing was held at which A.C. testified as noted above. A.C.'s mother testified concerning his problems at school and at home at about the time he started fifth grade. She also testified that she permitted A.C. to ride his bicycle to the park. W.G. testified and denied the incidents had occurred. He stated, however, that he had seen A.C. at the park.

The juvenile court determined the State's witnesses were credible. The court stated, "The victim's testimony was consistent and corroborated on several points. His testimony was consistent on relevant facts." The court determined W.G. had committed the delinquent acts of indecent exposure and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. He now appeals.

II. Standard of Review.

Juvenile delinquency proceedings are not criminal prosecutions but are special proceedings. In re A.K., 825 N.W.2d 46, 49 (Iowa 2013); In re J.D.F., 553 N.W.2d 585, 587 (Iowa 1996). "The primary goal of juvenile proceedings is to further the best interests of the child—not to punish ...


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