This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of the Welfare of:
Filed July 30, 2002
Benton County District Court
File No. J3-01-50489
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Charlann E. Winking, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Roger S. Van Heel, Stearns County Attorney, Michael J. Lieberg, Assistant County Attorney, 705 Courthouse Square, Room 448, P.O. Box 1168, St. Cloud, MN 56303-1168 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Willis, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.
Appellant challenges his adjudication of delinquency for second- and fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, arguing that inconsistencies in the testimony made the evidence insufficient to support the adjudication. Because a factfinder could reasonably have determined that the elements of appellant’s delinquency petition were met, we affirm.
Appellant C.D.B. was charged with criminal sexual conduct in the second and fifth degrees as a result of misconduct that occurred when he, then 13 or 14, was babysitting G.S., then 9. G.S. described the misconduct to another babysitter, M.S., and G.S.’s mother learned of it. She had G.S. talk to David Causton, her stepfather and G.S.’s step-grandfather, who was a former high school counselor.
At trial, M.S. testified that G.S. “said that [appellant] was ‘jacking off’ in front of him and made him touch his penis.” Causton testified that G.S. told him that appellant had touched him in inappropriate places, that appellant had also asked G.S. to touch him inappropriately, and that G.S. had gone into the bathroom to get away from appellant. G.S. testified that appellant had poked his penis into the shower curtain while G.S. was in the tub bathing, that appellant had masturbated in front of G.S., and that appellant had made G.S. touch appellant’s exposed penis. Appellant denied that there had been sexual conduct between himself and G.S.
The district court found that the charges were proved beyond a reasonable doubt and adjudicated appellant delinquent. He appeals, arguing that, given the facts and legitimate inferences, a factfinder could not reasonably have determined that the elements of his delinquency petition were met.
D E C I S I O N
On appeal from a determination that the elements of a delinquency petition have been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, this court is limited to ascertaining whether, given the facts and legitimate inferences, a fact-finder could reasonably have made that determination. In re Welfare of S.M.J., 556 N.W. 2d 4, 6 (Minn. App. 1996).
Appellant contends that inconsistencies between G.S.’s out-of-court statements and his trial testimony preclude an adjudication of delinquency. But minor inconsistencies between a victim’s testimony and his prior statements are not grounds for reversal. State v. Garden, 404 N.W. 2d 912, 916 (Minn. App. 1987), review denied (Minn. 25 June 1987). Moreover, G.S.’s trial testimony and his prior statements concerning the two incidents on which appellant’s adjudication was based were largely consistent.
The only inconsistency was Causton’s testimony that appellant had touched G.S. inappropriately and had asked G.S. to touch him, while M.S. and G.S. testified that G.S. had been asked to touch appellant and did so, but did not mention appellant touching G.S. Two factors are relevant to this inconsistency. First, about 15 months had elapsed between the time of G.S.’s prior statements to M.S. and Clausen and the time of the trial. Second, Causton’s testimony reflects that Causton’s primary concerns at the time of the prior statement had been G.S.’s behavior, specifically a suicide threat, and G.S.’s problem with the relationship of his mother and her boyfriend. Causton also testified that G.S. seemed embarrassed to discuss the incident with appellant and Causton “didn’t want to necessarily go [into] all the specifics” when they talked. In short, Causton was focused on G.S.’s condition, not on appellant’s activity, at the time he spoke to G.S.
From the facts and the legitimate inferences, we conclude that a factfinder could reasonably have determined that appellant had committed sexual misconduct in the second and fifth degree and adjudicated him delinquent on that basis.