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Appellate Division Sexual Abuse of a Child Conviction. People v. Boyd, 122 A.D.2d 273 (N.Y. App. Div. 1986)


People v. Boyd revolves around a conviction that hinges on multiple factors, including the age of the victim, the nature of the crime, and the credibility of witnesses. This case, which was appealed to the New York Appellate Division, raises questions about the sufficiency of evidence, the application of lesser-included offenses, and the corroboration required for certain convictions.

Factual Background
The defendant in this case faced charges related to sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment, and endangering the welfare of a child. While initially charged with rape and sodomy in the first degree, the defendant was ultimately found guilty of the lesser-included offense of sexual abuse in the first degree. However, the verdict did not specify whether this lesser count derived from the charges of rape or sodomy. To understand this conviction, it’s important to note that sexual abuse in the first degree requires proof of forcible compulsion (see Penal Law § 130.65(1)) and that the victim is under 11 years of age (see Penal Law § 130.65(3)).

The evidence presented at trial indicated that the defendant had forcibly pushed a nine-year-old girl into the basement of her residence, where he subjected her to sexual contact against her will. Despite her attempts to escape, she remained under the defendant’s control. Additionally, there was corroborating evidence provided by the victim’s great uncle, who encountered the defendant in the basement with his clothing disheveled and admitted to being in the basement for sexual purposes. The witness later found the victim in a distressed state, sobbing and appearing frightened.

While a physician could not determine with certainty whether there had been actual penetration, the evidence presented clearly established that the victim had been taken to the basement and subjected to sexual contact against her will. This finding supported not only the conviction for sexual abuse in the first degree but also for endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful imprisonment in the second degree.

The defendant appealed the conviction, challenging the sufficiency of the corroborating evidence and its connection to the defendant’s commission of the crime.


The court held that there was sufficient evidence to support the defendant’s conviction for sexual abuse in the first degree. The evidence demonstrated that the victim, who was under 11 years of age, had been forcibly subjected to sexual contact against her will, meeting the statutory requirements for this offense.

This case sheds light on several legal elements, particularly the use of lesser-included offenses and the need for corroboration in certain convictions. While the defendant had been charged with more severe crimes, the court found that there was enough evidence to support the conviction for sexual abuse in the first degree, a lesser-included offense. The evidence included the victim’s testimony and corroborating statements from her great uncle, both of which painted a compelling picture of the defendant’s guilt.

Additionally, the case emphasizes the importance of witness credibility and the role of the factfinder in evaluating witness testimony. In this instance, the trial court, acting as the trier of facts, was responsible for determining the credibility of the witnesses and the weight of the evidence. The court’s judgment was based on its assessment of the testimony and the consistency of the evidence presented.

People v. Boyd serves as a reminder of the intricacies of criminal law and the importance of evidence, credibility, and legal definitions. If you find yourself accused of sexual abuse or any other sex crime, it is crucial to seek immediate legal counsel from an experienced New York sex crime lawyer. The outcome of such cases often depends on the skillful navigation of legal complexities and a thorough understanding of the law. Note that in addition to receiving significant prison time, a conviction of a sex crime will also results in being labeled a sex offender and being subject to the restriction of the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).

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