In the Matter of J.F., 237 N.C. App. 218 (2014)

Affirmed in Part
Reversed in Part
Vacated and Remanded in Part

In a case involving first-degree sex offense and crime against nature petitions, the State was not required to present evidence of “sexual purpose.” Sexual purpose is not an element of first-degree sex offense and crime against nature. Noting that the legislature intentionally included sexual purpose as an element of indecent liberties between children but omitted it from other sex offenses, the court held the omission was intentional, and it had no authority to add an additional element to an unambiguous criminal statute. However, the court reversed the crime against nature adjudications for insufficient evidence of penetration. Penetration is not an element of a sex offense involving fellatio; but, it is an essential element of crime against nature. Therefore, evidence was insufficient to prove crime against nature because the victim testified that he “licked” but did not suck the juvenile’s penis, and likewise, the juvenile “licked” his penis. The court distinguished In re Heil, 145 N.C. App. 24 (2001) (where it inferred penetration in a crime against nature case involving a 4-year-old victim who performed fellatio on an 11-year-old juvenile because the size difference between juvenile and victim and the fact that incident occurred in the close quarters of a closet suggested there was some penetration, however slight, of the juvenile’s penis into the victim’s mouth), and rejected the State’s argument that penetration could be inferred from the surrounding circumstances.

Criminal Offenses
Crime Against Nature
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