The Appellate Group

Utah v. Mottaghian

Utah v. Mottaghian, 2022 UT App 8 (Harris, J.)

Criminal Law

Defendant was convicted of eight sexual crimes after misrepresenting himself as a doctor to multiple women over Craigslist in order to obtain vaginal and anal measurements to further his new interest in designing sex toys. His Craigslist advertisement mentioned “anatomy research” and “medical devices,” despite the fact that Defendant was not and never had been a doctor or medical professional. Defendant convinced several Victims to meet him at a designated location to perform vaginal and anal measurements in exchange for $200. Upon meeting the Victims, Defendant represented to each of them that he was conducting research for the production of tampons and catheters, and required Victims to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Then, Defendant examined the Victims. The jury convicted Defendant. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The State presented sufficient evidence to present a jury question on all of the charged counts.
  • A reasonable jury could find, based on the facts, that Victims did not consent to Defendant’s actions. While nonconsent is not comprehensively defined under Utah Code § 76-5-406(12), this is because “consent, as a general rule, ‘is a fact-intensive, context-dependent question,’ to be ‘decided on a case-by-case basis.’” Furthermore, under Utah statute, there is no mens rea requirement for nonconsent for the crime of object rape (§ 76-5-402.2) or forcible sexual abuse (§ 76-5-404).

Read the full court opinion