This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).






In the Matter of the Welfare of:  J.W.C., A Child.


Filed August 12, 2003

Affirmed in part and Remanded; Motion Granted

Kalitowski, Judge


Fillmore County District Court

File No. J20250069


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Ann McCaughan, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and


Patrick A. Oman, Acting Fillmore County Attorney, Todd E. Pierce, Assistant County Attorney, Fillmore County Courthouse, P.O. Box 307, Preston, MN 55965 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            On appeal from an adjudication of delinquency for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, appellant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the adjudication; and (2) the court failed to make written findings in support of its disposition.  We affirm the adjudication, but remand for written findings to support the disposition.




            Appellant argues the evidence is insufficient to support the adjudication for first-degree criminal sexual conduct.  In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, this court’s review is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, is sufficient to allow the fact-finder to reach the verdict it did.  State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989).  This court must assume the fact-finder believed the state’s witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary.  State v. Wahlberg, 296 N.W.2d 408, 411 (Minn. 1980). 

            Appellant presented the defense of consent, and contends there was no coercion or force involved.  Appellant argues that because he and A.S.M. had engaged in sexual conduct prior to the alleged offense, it was reasonable for appellant to conclude that A.S.M. was consenting to their sexual activity in the storage room.  Appellant asserts that A.S.M. did not resist or cry out in any way, and that as soon as she requested that he stop, he complied.

            A person who engages in sexual penetration with another person, is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, if the actor causes personal injury to the complainant, and the actor uses force or coercion to accomplish sexual penetration.  Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(e)(i) (2002).  “Coercion” is defined under that statute as

words or circumstances that cause the complainant reasonably to fear that the actor will inflict bodily harm upon, or hold in confinement, the complainant or another, or force the complainant to submit to sexual penetration or contact, but proof of coercion does not require proof of a specific act or threat.


Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 14 (2002).  In addition, the statute defines “force” as

the infliction, attempted infliction, or threatened infliction by the actor of bodily harm or commission or threat of any other crime by the actor against the complainant or another, which (a) causes the complainant to reasonably believe that the actor has the present ability to execute the threat and (b) if the actor does not have a significant relationship to the complainant, also causes the complainant to submit.


Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 3 (2002).  The coercion element is met when the actor coerces the complainant by causing fear while accomplishing sexual contact.  State v. Meech, 400 N.W.2d 166, 168 (Minn. App. 1987). 

            A.S.M. testified that appellant “walked” her against the wall, grabbed her arms, and proceeded to sexually assault her despite her requests to stop.  A.S.M. testified that she was scared during the incident, and the district court noted that appellant is a much larger individual than A.S.M.  The court further noted A.S.M.’s credibility, as well as the corroborative effects of her emotional state immediately following the incident.  Importantly, the district court had the benefit of judging the credibility of the witnesses.  We thus conclude there is sufficient evidence to prove that appellant engaged in sexual penetration using force or coercion.

            Appellant also contends the evidence of personal injury is not sufficient to convict him of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.  “‘Personal injury’ means bodily harm as defined in section 609.02, subdivision 7, or severe mental anguish or pregnancy.”  Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 8 (2002).  “‘Bodily harm’ means physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.”  Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 7 (2002).  Personal injury can be as minimal as bruising or soreness and irritation.  See Powe v. State, 389 N.W.2d 215, 219 (Minn. App. 1986) (finding sufficient evidence to support personal injury where victim experienced irritation in her vaginal area and lower stomach, and broke a thumbnail in attempting to prevent the assault), review denied (Minn. July 31, 1986); see also State v. Mattson, 376 N.W.2d 413, 414-15 (Minn. 1985) (concluding soreness and bruise on left breast resulting from the contact was sufficient to establish personal injury for first-degree sexual assault); State v. Reynolds, 386 N.W.2d 828, 830 (Minn. App. 1986) (finding victim’s bruised hand sufficient to establish personal injury). 

            Here, A.S.M. suffered soreness in the vaginal area, her arms were bruised and sore where appellant grasped her and forced her to the ground, and she had bumps on her head that resulted in headaches.  Because the definition of “physical injury” is extremely broad, we conclude that appellant’s injuries constitute “physical injury” as defined by the statute.  Thus, there is sufficient evidence to uphold appellant’s conviction for first-degree criminal sexual conduct with personal injury.


            Appellant argues that the district court failed to make sufficient findings to support its disposition ordering him to Many Rivers, an out-of-home placement.  We agree.  Dispositional findings are mandated by the legislature and the Supreme Court, and are essential to meaningful appellate review.  In re Welfare of L.K.W., 372 N.W.2d 392, 400-01 (Minn. App. 1985).  A district court ordering out-of-home placement is required to make findings of fact that show (1) why public safety is served by the disposition; (2) why the best interests of the child are served by the disposition; (3) what alternative dispositions were proposed to the court and why such recommendations were not ordered; (4) why the child’s present custody is not acceptable; and (5) how the correctional placement meets the child’s needs.  In re Welfare of N.T.K., 619 N.W.2d 209, 211 (Minn. App. 2000) (citing Minn. Stat. § 260B.198, subd. 1(m) (Supp. 1999); Minn. R. Juv. P. 15.05, subd. 2(A)).  Although the record sufficiently reflects the court’s disposition, the court did not make all the required written findings.  We therefore remand for written findings.


            Finally, appellant moved to strike parts of respondent’s brief pertaining to matters regarding appellant’s stay at Many Rivers treatment center.  This language is outside the record.  It is well settled that this court may not base its decision on matters outside the record.  Gibson v. Coldwell Banker Burnet, 659 N.W.2d 782, 790 (Minn. App. 2003).  Thus, appellant’s motion to strike is granted. 

            Affirmed in part and remanded; motion to strike granted.