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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.11-3  Risk of Injury to a Minor (Sexual Contact) -- § 53-21 (a) (2)

Revised to December 1, 2007 (modified June 13, 2008)

The defendant is charged [in count __] with risk of injury to a minor.  The statute defining this offense imposes penalties on any person who has contact with the intimate parts of a child under the age of sixteen years or subjects a child under sixteen years of age to contact with the intimate parts of such person, in a sexual and indecent manner likely to impair the health or morals of such child.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:   

Element 1  - Contact with intimate parts
The first element is that the defendant had contact with the intimate parts of the minor or subjected the minor to contact with the defendant's intimate parts.  Intimate parts means the genital area, groin, anus, inner thighs, buttocks or breasts.  "Contact" means the touching of intimate parts.  The state must prove either that <insert as appropriate:>

  • the defendant had contact with the child's intimate parts.

  • the defendant subjected the child to contact with the defendant's intimate parts.

There need not be a touching of all the intimate parts.  It is sufficient if any one of the intimate parts is touched.

Element 2 - Of a sexual and indecent manner
The second element is that the contact with the intimate parts took place in a sexual and indecent manner, as opposed to an innocent touching or an accidental, inadvertent or reflexive touching.  "Sexual" means having to do with sex and "indecent" means offensive to good taste or public morals.

Element 3 - Likely to impair health or morals
The third element is that the contact, which was sexual and indecent in nature, was likely to injure or weaken the (health / morals) of the child.  <Include appropriate definition(s):>

  • The health of the child refers to the child's well-being. 

  • As used here, "morals" means living, acting and thinking in accordance with those principles and standards which are commonly accepted among us as right and decent.1

I want to stress that the state does NOT have to prove that the defendant actually did impair the (health / morals) of the child.  Rather, the state must show that the defendant's behavior was LIKELY to have done so.  "Likely" means in all probability.2  Thus, the state must show that it was probable that the sexual and indecent behavior of the defendant would injure or weaken the child's (health / morals).  There is no requirement that the state prove actual harm to the child's (health / morals). 

[<Insert if appropriate:>3  The defendant need not have had the specific intent to impair the health or morals of the child, only the general intent to perform the sexual and indecent act.  <See Intent: General, Instruction 2.3-1.>]

Element 4 - Minor under 16 years of age
The fourth element is that at the time of the incident, the minor was under the age of sixteen years.  This means that the child had not yet had (his/her) sixteenth birthday when the alleged contact took place.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant had contact with the intimate parts of the child or subjected the child to contact with the defendant's intimate parts, 2) that the contact with the intimate parts took place in a sexual and indecent manner, 3) the contact was likely to impair the (health / morals) of the child, and 4) that the child was under sixteen years of age at the time.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of risk of injury to a minor, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.
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1 See State v. Payne, 240 Conn. 766, 782-83 (1997) (not improper to instruct jury to apply community standards).

2 See State v. Romero, 269 Conn. 481, 492 (2004).

3 See State v. Pierson, 201 Conn. 211, 217 (1986) (instruction need not include principle of general intent unless evidence suggests that the defendant's conduct was involuntary).

Commentary

Sentence Enhancer
Effective July 1, 2007, General Statutes § 53-21 (a) imposes an enhanced sentence for a violation of subsection (a) (2) if the victim of the offense is under thirteen years of age.  The jury must find this fact proved beyond a reasonable doubt.  See Sentence Enhancers, Instruction 2.11-4.
 


 

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