The Appellate Group

In re JAM

In re JAM, 2020 UT App 103 (Appleby, J.)


The defendant pulled another teenager who was yelling “no” and “stop” into a secluded area by her feet while his penis was out of his pants but covered by his shirt. The teenager ultimately ran away. In a bench trial, the juvenile court adjudicated the defendant delinquent of aggravated kidnapping. He appealed. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • Sufficient evidence supported a finding that the defendant had the intent to commit a sexual offense. The juvenile court credited the teenager’s testimony of the attack, even though the court pointed out inconsistencies between the teenager’s testimony and a prior intimate encounter caught on tape. What happened in the prior encounter was not outcome determinative because the teenager could have withdrawn her consent at any time. Nor was her testimony inherently improbable because it was not physically impossible or patently false.
  • The juvenile court did not erroneously infer that prior kissing and hugging and the visible “bump” of the defendant’s penis established his intent to commit a sexual offense. Nor did the juvenile court did clearly err when it found that the defendant’s penis was protruding, visible, and obvious based on the teenager’s testimony.
  • The aggravated kidnapping statute does not require a sexual act in conjunction with the unlawful kidnapping activity. Intent to commit a sexual offense is sufficient.
  • The juvenile court did not err when it inferred from the evidence that the defendant intended to commit a sexual offense.

Read the full court opinion