may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Ruhangaisha Norbert Kapingiri,
Filed March 30, 1999
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 97019837
Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, Paul R. Scoggin, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, Minnesota State Public Defender, Jodie L. Carlson, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Harten, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.
Appellant Ruhangaisha Norbert Kapingiri challenges his conviction for fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, arguing that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction because the state failed to produce any evidence that he touched the victim's breasts with sexual or aggressive intent. We affirm.
On March 8, 1997, appellant was on duty as a security guard at the Star Tribune newspaper building when the complainant, a temporary employee of the newspaper, reported for work. As the complainant signed in at the security desk, appellant walked around the desk, reached under the complainant's arms, and put both hands on the outside of her zipped coat and upon her breasts. Appellant had an employee badge in his hand at the time. Appellant's touch was not forceful.
Surprised and shocked, the complainant asked appellant why he had touched her and he replied that he was just kidding. He then asked her not to tell anyone because he would lose his job.
The complainant reported the incident to her supervisor, who then confronted appellant. Appellant responded: "I was just playing with her * * * I didn't mean anything." Ultimately appellant was convicted of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct after a jury trial.
When evaluating the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a conviction, our review is limited to whether a jury could reasonably have found the defendant guilty of the charged offense. State v. Davidson, 481 N.W.2d 51, 58 (Minn. 1992). We view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, and assume the jury believed the state's witnesses while disbelieving any contrary evidence. State v. McKenzie, 511 N.W.2d 14, 17 (Minn. 1994). Further, the "credibility of individual witnesses is for the jury to determine." State v. Bliss, 457 N.W.2d 385, 390 (Minn. 1990) (citations omitted).
A person who engages in "sexual contact" with another but without the other's consent commits the crime of criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree. Minn. Stat. § 609.3451, subd. 1 (1998). "Sexual contact" includes the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the intimate parts. Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 11(a)(i), (iv) (1998). "Intimate parts" include the breast. Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 5 (1998). The contact must not only be nonconsensual but must also be done with sexual or aggressive intent. Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 11(a).
Although appellant suggests that his touching was inadvertent, the evidence is entirely to the contrary. Appellant admitted the touching. His explanation that he was kidding or playing supports an inference that he intended to touch the complainant. To find that appellant's touch was inadvertent, and therefore unintentional, the jury would have had to speculate.
The issue then is whether appellant had a "sexual or aggressive intent" when he touched the complainant.
Intent, of course, is a subjective state of mind usually established only by reasonable inference from surrounding circumstances. State v. Schweppe, 306 Minn. 395, 401, 237 N.W.2d 609, 614 (1975). Intent is an inference drawn by the jury from the totality of circumstances. See State v. Alladin, 408 N.W.2d 642, 648 (Minn. App. 1987), review denied (Minn. Aug. 12, 1987) (citing State v. Marsyla, 269 N.W.2d 2, 5-6 (Minn. 1978)). The defendant's statements as to his intentions are not binding on the jury if defendant's acts demonstrate a contrary intent. State v. Raymond, 440 N.W.2d 425, 426 (Minn. 1989) (citing State v. Lundstrom, 285 Minn. 130, 140, 171 N.W.2d 718, 724-25 (1969)).
The evidence established that prior to the day of the incident appellant had become interested in the complainant and had repeatedly asked her for her telephone number. On the day of the incident, he placed both hands over her breasts. Considering the evidence of appellant's attraction to the complainant and the nature of his touching, the jury reasonably concluded that the contact occurred with appellant's sexual intent.
Alternatively, appellant argues that there is evidence consistent with an explanation other than guilt, which is that appellant inadvertently touched victim's breasts as he fastened a badge onto her coat. Kapingiri mistakenly relies on State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989) to support this argument. Webb allows a conviction based on circumstantial evidence if the reasonable inferences from such evidence are consistent only with the defendant's guilt and inconsistent with any rational hypothesis except that of his guilt. Id., (citing State v. Anderson, 379 N.W.2d 70, 75 (Minn. 1985) cert. denied 476 U.S. 1141, 106 S. Ct. 2248 (1986)). Unlike the Webb case, however, the case at bar does not rest on circumstantial evidence since the victim's first-hand observation is direct evidence.