from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W.
Seidlin, District Associate Judge.
twelve-year-old child adjudicated delinquent for committing
second-degree sexual abuse challenges the constitutionality
of the statutory rape provisions.
Matthew S. Sheeley and Paul L. White, Assistant State Public
Defenders, Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
C.B. repeatedly committed sex acts against his stepsiblings,
who were five, eight, and ten years old. The juvenile court
adjudicated him as a delinquent for sexual abuse in the
second degree based on the age of the other children. C.B.
alleges enforcing the strict liability provisions of
Iowa's statutory rape statutes violated his right to due
process. C.B. also contends those statutes are void for
vagueness as applied to him. He further argues he was
entitled to a jury trial.
C.B. identifies no defects in the juvenile court process, we
decline to reverse on his procedural due process argument. In
addition, C.B. fails to show the statute prohibiting sex acts
with children under age twelve was unconstitutionally vague
as applied to him. Finally, the right to jury trials in
delinquency cases has already been foreclosed by our supreme
Facts and Prior Proceedings
fall of 2013, five-year-old D.S., eight-year-old D.B., and
ten-year-old K.B. all reported that C.B., their
twelve-year-old stepbrother, had subjected them to unwanted
sexual contact. In the case of D.S., C.B. was babysitting
when he placed the younger child's penis in his mouth and
then C.B. inserted his penis into the five-year-old's
rectum. C.B. warned D.S. not to tell their father, but the
child soon revealed the incident to his grandfather. C.B.
denied the allegations at first, but he eventually admitted
to the contact, saying he was angry with D.S.
two other stepsiblings, D.B. and K.B., learned they would not
be seeing C.B. for a while because "he was in trouble
for hurting a little boy, " they disclosed to their
mother that C.B. had also sexually assaulted them at their
grandmother's house. Eight-year-old D.B. recalled he and
C.B. had been taking a bath together, they stood up in the
tub, and C.B. inserted his penis into D.B.'s rectum,
which was painful. K.B. reported that when she was ten years
old, she and C.B. were in their grandmother's bed and
C.B. "told her to pull her pants down" and to
"lay sideways" before he inserted his penis into
her rectum. K.B. planned to testify "this did not feel
right to her." According to the minutes of evidence,
C.B. also tried to insert his penis into her vagina and
"his penis came into contact with her genitalia."
February 2014, the State filed a delinquency petition,
alleging five counts of sexual abuse in the second degree,
class "B" felonies if filed in criminal court, in
violation of Iowa Code sections 709.1 and 709.3(2) (2014),
based on C.B.'s sex acts against those three children
under the age of twelve. Two months later, C.B. filed a
motion to dismiss the delinquency petition, alleging the
strict liability provisions in Iowa Code chapter 709 violated
his right to fundamental fairness ensured by the due process
clauses of both the federal and state constitutions. He also
alleged the statute was void for vagueness as applied to his
situation. The State resisted. The juvenile court held a
hearing on C.B.'s dismissal motion, accepting deposition
testimony from expert witnesses offered by both sides.
2014, the juvenile court denied the motion to dismiss. The
as the fact finder at trial, [it] could find that the Child
committed sexual abuse under the specific intent offense of
Iowa Code § 709.1(1) (the act is done by force or
against the will of the other),  as well as under the strict
liability offense of Iowa Code § 709.1(3) (the other
person is a child), thereby rendering the Child's
Constitutional arguments moot. . . . The child's motion
to dismiss, therefore, is premature until such time as the
State has presented its proof at trial.
filed a motion to enlarge and amend, arguing the State's
delinquency petition limited the theory of adjudication to
sexual abuse based on the age of the alleged victims and, as
such, the adjudication violated his right to due process. The
juvenile court denied C.B.'s motion to reconsider. C.B.
unsuccessfully sought an interlocutory appeal on the due
process questions. C.B. then demanded a jury trial, which the
juvenile court rejected.
parties stipulated to adjudication on the minutes of
evidence, and C.B. renewed his motion to dismiss. The
juvenile court penned a comprehensive and ...