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Indecent Contact with A Child

In this article, criminal defense attorneys with McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. explain the elements of Indecent Contact with a Child under Iowa Code section 709.12. If you were charged with the serious criminal offense of “Indecent Contact with A Child” then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. in Des Moines, Iowa.

Call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. today for a free consultation to discuss your case. We can help you understand the elements of the crime and important defenses. If you were wrongfully accused, retaining an attorney as soon as possible after the false allegation is the best way to protect your rights.


History of the Criminal Charge for Indecent Contact with a Child

In 1980, the courts held that a defendant could not be convicted of lascivious acts for attempting to grope a twelve-year-old girl's breast. See State v. Baldwin, 291 N.W.2d 337, 338–40 (Iowa 1980). Additionally, in Baldwin, the defendant could not be convicted for touching or fondling because a breast is not within the definition of “pubes or genitals,” and in any event, he did not actually touch the girl's breast. See id.

Finally, the defendant could not be convicted of soliciting a child to engage in a sex act because the definition of sex act proscribes sexual contact with a person's genitalia or anus and the purpose of his contact “might very well have been limited to the [touch]ing of the little girl's breast.” Id. at 340; see Iowa Code § 702.17 (1979); id. § 709.8(3). Suggesting the defendant's conduct was still objectively wrong, just not a crime under

Suggesting the defendant's conduct was still objectively wrong, just not a crime under the existing law, the court noted some states had statutes criminalizing indecent liberties with children but Iowa was not one of them. Baldwin, 291 N.W.2d at 340 (“Some states proscribe as a criminal act taking indecent liberties with children.... Baldwin, however, was not charged with indecent liberties. Such an offense does not appear to be included within Chapter 709.”).

Just one year later, the legislature in Iowa passed section 709.12. 1981 Iowa Acts ch. 204, § 7. The timing of the enactment strongly suggests it was a response to the Baldwin decision, intended to rectify what the legislature perceived as a specific gap in the law protecting children—not as part of a comprehensive legislative package revising section 709.8.


Elements of “Indecent Contact with a Child” in Iowa 

The elements of the crime require proof that:

1. The Defendant acted with or without the victim's consent by:

       a.  fondled or touched the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus or breast of the victim; or

       b.  touched the clothing covering the immediate area of the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus, or breast of the victim; or

       c.  solicited or permitted the victim to fondle or touch the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus or breast of the defendant; or

       d.  solicited the victim to engage in any act prohibited by Iowa Code sections 709.8(1), (2), or (4));

  2.  The defendant did so with the specific intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of the defendant or the victim; 

  3.  The defendant was then:

       a.  18 years of age or older; or

       b.  16 or 17 years of age.

  4.  The victim was then:

       a.  under the age of 14 years; or

       b.  at least 5 years younger than the defendant.

  5.  The defendant and the victim were not then married to each other.


Statute of Limitations for Indecent Contact with a Child

Under Iowa law, a case for indecent contact with a child under Iowa Code § 709.12, must be brought by the later of either:

  • within ten (10) years after the victim attains eighteen (18) years of age; or
  • if the offender is identified through the use of a DNA profile, within three (3) years from the date the offender is identified by his or her DNA.

The rule for the statute of limitations for the crime of indecent contact with a child can be found at Iowa Code § 802.2B.

 

Attorney for Indecent Contact with A Child Crimes in Iowa

If you were charged with the crime of Indecent Contact with A Child under Iowa Code section 709.12 then seek out the services of a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Attorneys in Des Moines, Iowa, provide a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Meet with an attorney as soon as possible after the allegation.

Our attorneys help individuals fight against a wrongful allegation. We work hard to protect your rights within the criminal justice system so that you can seek the best possible resolution or a complete dismissal of the charges.


This article was last updated on Friday, July 14, 2017.

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