Clark v. State (1977)

In Clark v. State, 558 S.W.2d 887 (Tex. Crim. App. 1977), the court of criminal appeals examined the testimony of a six-year-old child victim who stated that the accused in that case had touched her "front butt." Id. at 888. The appellant argued that this testimony was insufficient to show that he had touched the child's genitals or anus. The court affirmed the conviction, stating that "where the child has sufficiently communicated to the trier of fact that the touching occurred to a part of the body within the definition of sexual contact, the evidence will be sufficient to support a conviction regardless of the unsophisticated language that the child uses. For this court to hold otherwise would be to frustrate the intent of the statute." Id. at 889. The appellant argued that the definition of "sexual contact" included only the anus and genitals, and did not include the urinary opening. Clark, 558 S.W.2d at 889. In addition, the appellant argued that a female's "genitals" included only the vagina and no other part of the genital area. Id. Therefore, the appellant contended that the testimony that he touched the victim's "front butt," which was defined as that "area between your legs where you pea at," was insufficient to sustain his conviction. Id. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected the argument, asserting the statute prohibited the touching of any part of the genitals, which includes more than just the vagina. Id. The Court stated, "the definition of 'genitals' includes the vulva which immediately surrounds the vagina." Id. In Carmell, the appellant asserted that the evidence was legally insufficient to support his sexual assault conviction because the victim's testimony that the defendant touched her "genital area" with his penis was not specific enough to prove that his penis contacted the victim's sexual organ. See Carmell, 963 S.W.2d at 836-37. The appellant conceded that if the victim had testified that his penis touched her "genitals" or "genitalia," the evidence would be sufficient. See id. The court rejected the appellant's argument, stating genitals include "the vulva which immediately surrounds the vagina." Id. The court reasoned, "If K.M. had testified, as appellant desired, that appellant contacted her 'genitals,' that would have encompassed the 'genital area,' i.e., the area surrounding the genitals. Further, it would be untenable to find that the genital area does not include the genitals." Id.