Sexual Battery Conviction Reversed for Indiana Man Accused of Groping
A man’s conviction for sexual battery was reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The man was accused of walking up behind an unsuspecting woman and groping her in the thighs and crotch. The woman immediately turned around and the man ran away. He was arrested and charged with sexual battery, a Class D felony. He was convicted at trial of sexual battery, a Class D felony. He then appealed the conviction arguing that he had not compelled the woman to submit to a sexual touching, as required by the sexual battery statute.
The Indiana sexual battery statute provides that a person commits sexual battery who, with intent to arouse or satisfy the person’s sexual desires or the sexual desires of another person, touches another person, when that person is compelled to submit to the touching by force or the imminent threat to use force. Evidence that a victim did not voluntarily consent to a touching does not, in itself, support the conclusion that the defendant compelled the victim to submit to the touching by force or the threat of force.
The evidence presented at trial was that the alleged victim was unsuspecting and did not have the opportunity to consent or not consent to the touching. She immediately turned around and the man ran away. The Indiana Court of Appeals determined that although the touching could support a misdemeanor battery conviction, there was insufficient evidence to convict the man of sexual battery. The Court found that the sexual battery statute required the State to prove that the woman had been compelled to submit by force to the touching. The Court found that the definition of sexual battery in Indiana requires more than an unwanted sexual touching. There must be evidence that the victim was compelled to submit by force.
Sexual battery is a sex crime in Indiana, which means a conviction requires registering as a sex offender. Battery is a Class B misdemeanor and not a sex crime. If you are accused of sexual battery, you should contact an experienced Indiana criminal attorney immediately. You may have a defense to a charge of sexual battery, if the State cannot prove that he alleged victim was compelled to submit to a sexual touching.