STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE CLAY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT [NOS.
11CJV-18-12; 11CJV-18-13; 11CJV-18-14] HONORABLE RICHARD
Goodwin Jones, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Chris R. Warthen, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, JUDGE.
Clay County Circuit Court adjudicated appellant P.J. a
juvenile delinquent on three counts, finding that he
committed one count of second-degree sexual assault and two
counts of third-degree assault. P.J. was fifteen years old
when these acts allegedly occurred, and there were three
separate victims. The trial court placed P.J. on one year
probation and ordered him to complete forty hours of
community service. On appeal, P.J. argues that there was
insufficient evidence to support the delinquency
adjudications. We affirm.
to Ark. Code Ann. § 5-14-125(a)(1) (Supp. 2017), a
person commits second-degree sexual assault if the person
engages in sexual contact with another person by forcible
compulsion. "Sexual contact" means any act of
sexual gratification involving the touching, directly or
through clothing, of the sex organs, buttocks, or anus of a
person or the breast of a female. Ark. Code Ann. §
5-14-101(11) (Supp. 2017). Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. §
5-13-207(a) (Repl. 2013), a person commits third-degree
assault if he purposely creates apprehension of imminent
physical injury in another person.
reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence in a delinquency
case, we apply the same standard of review as in criminal
cases; that is, we view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the State, considering only the proof that tends
to support the finding of guilt. T.R. v. State, 2018
Ark.App. 328, 552 S.W.3d 452. We will affirm if the
adjudication is supported by substantial evidence, which is
evidence that is of sufficient force and character to compel
a conclusion one way or the other without resorting to
speculation or conjecture. Id. In considering the
evidence presented below, we will not weigh the evidence or
assess the credibility of witnesses, because those are
questions for the factfinder. J.N.A. v. State, 2017
Ark.App. 502, 532 S.W.3d 582.
thirteen-year-old girl, was the alleged victim of the
second-degree sexual assault. M.C. testified that she met
P.J. in the school band and that they started liking each
other. M.C. stated that it "went into a whole new
category" when P.J. would touch her breasts or her butt.
On the night of a basketball game, M.C. was coming back from
the band room when she ran into P.J. in a courtyard outside
of the gymnasium. According to M.C., P.J. tried to kiss her
and she told him "no." Then P.J. shoved her against
a brick wall. M.C. tried to push him off her, but P.J. kept
shoving himself on her. Then P.J. put his left hand on her
shoulder and shoved his right hand down her pants. M.C.
testified that P.J. touched the inside of her vagina. M.C.
stated that she did not want him to do that and that she kept
telling him to stop.
fourteen-year-old girl, was the alleged victim of one of the
third-degree assaults. M.F. went to school with P.J. and they
were friends. M.F. testified that they would sometimes walk
together and that P.J. would grab her butt, causing her to
jump. When she would jump, P.J. would do it again to see if
she would jump again. P.J. would also touch her on her
breasts and her vagina, and M.F. would tell him to stop or
move his hand, making it very clear that she did not want
that contact. On one occasion in a park, M.F. was walking on
leaves, and P.J. told her that if she kept doing it he would
hit her on her butt and that it would hurt. P.J. hit her on
her butt, causing M.F. to scream because it "hurt a
lot." M.F. stated that there was a hand-shaped bruise
where P.J. had hit her.
fifteen-year-old girl named A.C. was the alleged victim of
the other third-degree assault. A.C. had met P.J. on the
school bus and they became friends. A.C. testified that one
day they were sitting and talking in a park when P.J. grabbed
her hoodie, pulled it away from her chest, and put his hand
down her bra. A.C. jerked away, covered her chest, and pushed
her hoodie back to her chest. A.C. went home after that. She
stated that, because of what happened that day, she did not
meet with P.J. again.
friends from school testified as defense witnesses. M.R.
testified that he was at the park with P.J. and M.F. and did
not observe anything inappropriate. T.B. testified that she
had never seen P.J. touch a female but that she had seen M.C.
follow P.J. around and touch him inappropriately. K.F.
testified that she had never seen P.J. act aggressively.
testified on his own behalf, and he denied touching any of
the alleged victims inappropriately. P.J. testified that M.C.
had always been aggravated at him because he did not want to
date her. He thought that M.C. "got these other girls to
testify against me because she wanted me to go away."
appeal, P.J. challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to
support each adjudication of delinquency. He first challenges
his adjudication for second-degree sexual assault committed
only argument P.J. makes with respect to his delinquency
adjudication for second-degree sexual assault is that the
State failed to prove that the sexual contact was through
forcible compulsion. Arkansas Code Annotated section
5-14-101(2) (Supp. 2017) defines "forcible
compulsion" as "physical force or a threat, express
or implied, of death or physical injury to or kidnapping of
any person." M.C. testified that P.J. shoved her against
the wall, put his hands down her pants, and touched the
inside of her vagina. While conceding that it was clear that
M.C. did not want him to touch her in that manner, P.J.
asserts that she never stated that he employed physical force
or a threat of death, physical injury, or kidnapping. P.J.
claims that there was no evidence of violence and no evidence
of whether the sexual contact ...