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In re K.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 9, 2020

IN THE INTEREST OF K.H., Minor Child, K.H., Minor Child, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Gary P. Strausser, District Associate Judge.

         A juvenile appeals his adjudication as a delinquent for assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

          Steven W. Stickle (until withdrawal) of Stickle Law Firm, P.L.C., Davenport, G. Brian Weiler (until withdrawal), Davenport, and Grishma Arumugam, Davenport, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.

          TABOR, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         The question in this appeal is whether the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that thirteen-year-old K.H. assaulted a younger boy with the intent to commit sexual abuse. Because sufficient credible evidence supports the elements of that offense, we affirm the delinquency adjudication.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         J.W. visited K.H.'s house one evening in the fall of 2017. The two boys played in K.H.'s room while the adults gathered around a bonfire outside. One of those adults was John, the boyfriend of K.H.'s mother.

         John came inside to use the restroom and through the bedroom door overheard K.H. tell J.W. to "touch it, touch it." J.W. said "no." Through a peep hole in the door, John could see K.H. approach J.W. as he sat on the bed. K.H. was holding his cell phone in one hand and pulling on the elastic waistband of his pants with his other hand. John-who saw himself as a "father figure" for K.H.-barged into the boy's room and directed J.W. to go find his own father downstairs. John then told K.H. he was in "big trouble."

         In his testimony, nine-year-old J.W. recalled K.H. pulling his pants down and exposing his penis. J.W. said K.H.'s conduct made him "uncomfortable" and "mad." But J.W. answered "no" when asked if K.H. urged him to touch his penis. K.H. did testify that John entered the room just as K.H. was approaching him.

         In an interview with police, K.H. denied showing his penis to J.W., but acknowledged John came into his room and accused him of "doing some weird stuff."

         The State petitioned the juvenile court to find K.H. was delinquent. The court held a hearing in July 2018. At the close of the State's evidence, the court denied K.H.'s motion for directed verdict. The court found substantial evidence that K.H. assaulted J.W. The court noted: "The child did not specifically testify that it was insulting or offensive." But the court found it sufficient that K.H.'s act of exposing his penis "made [J.W.] mad and it was clear that he was uncomfortable." K.H. now appeals the delinquency finding.

         II. Scope and ...


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