Is It Reasonable to Attribute the Same Intent Into a Child's Action As That of An Adult In a Criminal Sexual Abuse Case ?
In In re A.J.H., 210 Ill. App. 3d 65, 72, 568 N.E.2d 964, 154 Ill. Dec. 743 (1991) a 13-year-old girl was accused of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for touching the penis of a 5-year-old boy for whom she baby-sat. the victim testified that the minor had touched his penis, skin-to-skin, for four to five seconds and then told him not to tell anyone. A.J.H., 210 Ill. App. 3d at 67-68.
The State argued in A.J.H., as it does here, that the above evidence was sufficient to infer the requisite sexual intent.
The Court rejected that claim, reasoning that "it is not justified to impute the same intent into a child's action that one could reasonably impute into the actions of an adult." A.J.H., 210 Ill. App. 3d at 72.
In In re E.R.E., 245 Ill. App. 3d 669, 614 N.E.2d 1367, 185 Ill. Dec. 682 (1993) a 12-year-old boy was accused of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for touching the vagina of a 6-year-old girl.
The victim testified that the minor had touched her "private parts" over her clothes, and then told her not to tell anyone.
Stating that the evidence was weaker than that presented in A.J.H., the Court reversed the trial court's adjudication and held that the State failed to prove the sexual gratification element beyond a reasonable doubt. E.R.E., 245 Ill. App. 3d at 674.
In In re Donald R., 343 Ill. App. 3d 237, 244, 796 N.E.2d 670, 277 Ill. Dec. 584 (2003) the case cited by the State to support its argument, a 16-year-old boy was accused of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of a child by exposing his penis to a 6-year-old girl and having her touch his penis. Donald R., 343 Ill. App. 3d at 241.