What’s considered Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact in Texas?
A person commits this offense if the person engages in sexual contact with a child younger than seventeen years of age or causes a child to engage in sexual contact. TEX. PENAL CODE ANN.§ 21.11(a)(1)
What degree of felony is Indecency By Sexual Contact?
It is a 2nd-degree felony, with a punishment range of 2-20 years in prison.
What’s considered sexual contact?
“Sexual contact” means, except as provided by Section 21.11, any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
How much proof is needed at trial to convict for Indecency with a Child?
A child sexual abuse victim’s uncorroborated testimony is sufficient to support a conviction for indecency with a child. See TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. ANN. art. 38.07(a); Jones v. State, 428 S.W.3d 163, 169 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, no pet.). The State has no burden to produce any corroborating or physical evidence. Martines v. State, 371 S.W.3d 232, 240 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, no pet.). Likewise, a child victim’s outcry statement alone can be sufficient to support a conviction for a sexual offense. Tear v. State, 74 S.W.3d 555, 560 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2002, pet. ref’d). There is no requirement that properly admitted outcry testimony be corroborated or substantiated by the victim or independent evidence. Rodriguez v. State, 819 S.W.2d 871, 874 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991).
What if a child recants their statement?
Even when a statement is recanted by the victim, the fact finder, as the sole judge of the credibility of the witnesses, is entitled to determine whether to believe the prior statement or the recantation. Jimenez v. State, 507 S.W.3d 438, 442–43 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2016, no pet.) (citing Chambers v. State, 805 S.W.2d 459, 461 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991)). A complainant’s recantation of an earlier outcry statement does not destroy the probative value of the statement. Chambers, 805 S.W.2d at 461; Martines, 371 S.W.3d at 241. Here, it was the trial court’s role to weigh the evidence, evaluate the credibility of the witnesses, and determine whether to believe E.R.’s initial outcry or her recantation. The court was entitled to disbelieve her recantation. See Saldaña v. State, 287 S.W.3d 43, 60 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi–Edinburg 2008, pet. ref’d) (“A fact finder is fully entitled to disbelieve a witness’s recantation.”).