Failure to prove Sexual Offense precludes conviction of Felony Corruption of Minors (relating to sexual offenses)

The PA Superior Court recently decided the case of Commonwealth v. James Duane Baker-Myers, No. 1398 WDA 2016 (May 21, 2019), holding that the Commonwealth failed to prove an essential element of Corruption of Minors (COM-Felony) after the jury acquitted Baker-Myers of Rape, Sexual Assault, Aggravated Indecent Assault, and Indecent Assault.

In this case, the Commonwealth charged and prosecuted Baker-Myers for COM-Felony and the above Sexual Offenses, but failed to obtain a conviction on any of the Sexual Offenses. Following a two-day trial, the jury convicted Baker-Myers of the COM-Felony. However, the jury found him not guilty of the Sexual Offenses.

Baker-Myers appealed the COM-Felony conviction, arguing that the jury’s guilty verdict on that charge was not supported by sufficient evidence since a material element of that offense is the commission of a Chapter 31 Sexual Offense and, Baker-Myers was found not guilty of all four of the Sexual Offenses charged.

The Superior Court agreed, concluding that by acquitting Baker-Myers of the Sexual Offenses found in Chapter 31 of the PA Crimes Code, the jury found that the Commonwealth had failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted “in violation of Chapter 31.”

Accordingly, because the jury did not conclude that Baker-Myers acted “in violation of Chapter 31” (an essential element of COM-Felony), the Commonwealth was unable to establish every element of COM-Felony beyond a reasonable doubt.


DISCLAIMER – The information contained in this article is for general guidance on the subject matter only. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. Given the changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, and the inherent hazards of electronic communication, there may be delays, omissions or inaccuracies in information in this article. Case summaries are primarily excerpted directly from the decisionhs authored by the Courts. The decisions are cited and linked and the reader is encouraged to read the entire decision. Accordingly, the information in this article is provided with the understanding that the authors and publishers are not herein engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice and services. As such, it should NOT be used as a substitute for consultation with a McMahon Winters Strasko attorney about this or any other legal issue. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should always consult with a McMahon Winters Strasko attorney.