People v. Mayo, 2017 IL App (2d) 150390 (May). Episode 346 (Duration 10:46)
23 year old defendant with an IQ of 48 doesn’t necessarily have an obvious mental state seeking sexual gratification.
Defendant was indicted on one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for knowingly committing an act of sexual conduct for the purpose of his or the victim’s sexual gratification or arousal, where the victim was at least 13 but under 17 years old and he was at least 5 years older than the victim (720 ILCS 5/11-1.60(d)), and one count of battery for knowingly making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature by grabbing the victim (720 ILCS 5/12-3(a)(2)). See also this list of Illinois criminal charges.
Defendant lived in Chicago with his mother, her husband, and defendant’s brother and sister.
He was 23 years old, and suffered a brain injury when he was 5 months old. He was described as being physically 24 years old but acting like a 5- or 6- year old. Other tests placed his overall range to be that of someone three years, five months old.
They said he scored as low as he could score on IQ tests and finally said his intelligence quotient (IQ) was 48.
He was considered moderately retarded and developmentally disabled.
Defendant lacks executive functioning, which is the ability to decide what he needs to do next. He has difficulty with any question requiring a fluid thought process.
Workers here were familiar with defendant said he was very shy. He was never seen touching anyone inappropriately and they had no complaints about that kind of thing. Defendant once tried to hit a kid who was making fun of him, and they said he was a cryer.
Further, the report indicated there is a legitimate concern that defendant lacks the insight to recognize whether any sexual acting out is inappropriate.
A video surveillance recording showed that, during a period of about 45 minutes, defendant entered and exited a Walmart bathroom six times.
The alleged victim was a 15-year-old male with Down Syndrome.
The victim, his father, and his 12-year-old sister were at the East Dundee Walmart. According to the victim, as he was standing near the sink in the bathroom, defendant reached out with his hand and grabbed the victim’s penis. The victim had his pants on when defendant grabbed him.
The victim described the grab as hard.
Based in large part on defendant’s very limited ability to speak and his limited ability to communicate, the trial court found defendant unfit to stand trial and scheduled a discharge hearing (725 ILCS 5/104-23).
A discharge hearing takes place only after a defendant has been found unfit to stand trial, and it is a proceeding to determine only whether to enter a judgment of acquittal, not to make a determination of guilt.
The question of guilt is deferred until the defendant is fit to stand trial.
If the evidence presented at a discharge hearing is sufficient to establish the defendant’s guilt, no conviction results; instead, the defendant is found “not not guilty” and is subject to further treatment, ranging from one to five years depending on the offense. 725 ILCS 5/104-25(d).
If, at the expiration of the treatment period, the defendant remains unfit, the court must determine whether the defendant is subject to involuntary commitment; if so, the commitment cannot exceed the maximum sentence to which the defendant would have been subject had he been convicted in a criminal prosecution. 725 ILCS 5/104-25(g)(2).
Although a judicial finding of not not guilty does not result in a conviction, the standard of proof is the same as that required for a conviction. The trial court found the defendant not not guilty.
Trial Court Findings
The trial court noted that the evidence showed that defendant ordered “just over $800 worth of pornography and wrestling.”
The court found that, based on the surveillance video and the victim’s testimony, it was “certain that [defendant] was acting out sexually.”
The court found that defendant’s walking in and out of the bathroom several times showed that he was seeking a victim. The court added that the fact that the bathroom was a “secret place” further showed defendant’s intent.
Upon review, the appellate court has come to the system’s senses.
The mens rea of a crime can rarely be proved with direct evidence.
Rather, the mens rea is generally inferred from circumstantial evidence. That is equally so for a case of criminal sexual abuse. Sexual gratification or arousal is not defined by statute. The intent to sexually gratify or arouse has no restrictive meaning and can be proved by circumstantial evidence, including an inference from the defendant’s conduct.
Although a defendant’s intent generally can be inferred solely from the nature of the act, such an inference is not reasonable when the accused is a child.
The issue of a child’s intent to sexually gratify or arouse must be determined on a case-by-case basis, and the fact finder must consider all of the evidence, including the child’s age and maturity, before deciding whether such intent can be inferred.
The element of knowledge likewise can be inferred from circumstantial evidence.
In this case, it is undisputed that defendant touched the victim’s penis through the victim’s clothing.
The disputed issues are whether he knowingly did so for the purpose of his sexual gratification or arousal and knowingly made contact of an insulting or provoking nature.
Because defendant has an IQ of 48 and functions at the approximate level of a three-year old, he is effectively a young child, notwithstanding his chronological age. Therefore, the trial court without anything more could not base its finding that he knowingly acted for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal solely on the nature of the contact.
Any reliance on a prior act of sexual misconduct was misplaced.
The Prior Incident
This report did not include any details concerning that incident.
It was a nondescript school incident and insufficient to support a belief that defendant was a sexual dangeous person and needed constant monitoring to protect others.
More importantly, there was no indication that in the school incident defendant knowingly touched anyone for the purpose of either his or the alleged victim’s sexual gratification or arousal. Simply stated, the vague reference to an incident involving inappropriate sexual conduct at school, without more, was not sufficient to show that defendant knowingly acted for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal in this case.
Erection At A Park
Also, there was some highly prejudicial testimony that defendant once had an erection in a park.
The State offered no specifics as to that incident, such as whether defendant exposed himself, fondled himself, or otherwise sought sexual gratification.
Like the school incident, the lack of specificity rendered that evidence insufficient to show that defendant knowingly touched the victim for the purpose of his sexual gratification or arousal.
There was a reference that defendant once ordered “pornography” via the television.
Well, this evidence was equivocal as to whether defendant actually ordered the pornography, as opposed to someone else in the home having done so.
However, even if defendant did, there was no evidence that he ever watched the pornography, that he understood what he was ordering, or that he was sexually gratified or aroused by it.
That brings us to the last piece of the State’s evidence, the surveillance video.
In relying on that, the trial court commented that, when the victim looked back at defendant, the victim showed concern and fear.
However, any such concern or fear does not prove that defendant knowingly acted for a sexual purpose. Defendant also entered and exited the bathroom six times in a 45-minute period. The trial court found that that showed defendant’s effort to seek out a victim. His counselor’s testimony, however, was that defendant was incapable of acting with much forethought or intent and that he could not decide what to do next.
The testimony was that defendant had to be told what to do and his counselors testified that defendant would stand in one place until told what to do. Based on this testimony it was not reasonable to infer from the number of times that defendant entered and exited the bathroom that he was seeking out a victim.
A “Secret” Place
Next, the trial court concluded that the fact that the bathroom was a “secret place” showed defendant’s intent.
The reviewing court said it respectfully disagreed. Although a bathroom is generally a place where private bodily functions are performed, the bathroom in this case was public. Indeed, the video showed numerous people, other than defendant and the victim, going in and out of the bathroom, including a Walmart employee only moments before the incident.
Additionally, the act occurred near the sink, as opposed to inside a stall.
Therefore, the act did not occur in a secret place such that it was reasonable to infer any intent by defendant to commit a crime.
The reviewing court reversed the trial court and held that the State’s evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant, who had an IQ of 48 and the mental capacity of a three-year-old, knowingly acted for the purpose of his sexual gratification or arousal or with intent to insult or provoke.
Although the standard for reversing a finding of not not guilty is high, the appellate court said that it believed that, in light of the overwhelming evidence of defendant’s extremely low mental capacity, the evidence was not sufficient, even when viewed in the light most favorable to the State, to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant knowingly touched the victim for his sexual gratification or arousal or that he knowingly made contact of an insulting or provoking nature.
In the face of such evidence, no rational trier of fact could find defendant not not guilty of either criminal sexual abuse or battery.
In re Davontay, 2013 IL App (2d) 120347 (December 2013) (sexual gratification not so obvious with young defendants)
Two brothers (13 & 12 yoa) harassed a 13 year old girl on the bus. They did not let her leave as they “humped” her and touched her body without permission. Defense said standard inferences drawn with adults cannot be drawn with children. The trial court’s inference that these actions were for sexual gratification or arousal, as opposed to an attempt to humiliate the victim, as respondents contend, is not against the manifest weight of the evidence. In re Davontay A.