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Jury: Pain of Childbirth Sufficient for Aggravated Child Molestation

March 13, 2012

A Fulton County jury found that the pain of childbirth nine months after a 13 year-old girl had consensual sex with a man established the “physical injury” requirement for a conviction for aggravated child molestation.

In order to constitute aggravated child molestation, Georgia law requires proof of either an act of sodomy or physical injury to the child.  The Georgia Courts have held that proof of pain or medical evidence showing physical injury to a child is sufficient to establish this element of the offense.

The defendant, Troy Kendrick, received a life sentence after being convicted by the jury of aggravated child molestation, statutory rape, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and criminal trespass.

It was reported that Kendrick met the girl while he was a boarder in her family’s house.  College Park police found the two in an empty unit of the Cypress Glen Apartments on Godby road last February.  Kendrick at first claimed the girl was his 18-year-old cousin, but the two are not related.  The girl’s parents had reported her missing after she ran away to continue her relationship with Kendrick two months prior to the discovery of the pair by authorities.  Subsequent investigations revealed that the girl was pregnant with Kendrick’s child.

The girl did not testify that the alleged molestation was painful and she willingly participated in the sexual relationship.  The prosecution argued, however, that the “injury and pain of childbirth associated with the young girl’s pregnancy” formed the basis for the aggravated child molestation charge.  Essentially, the State’s position was that the requisite physical injury could occur nine months after the unlawful, but consensual, sexual offense.  It is certainly difficult to believe that the Georgia legislature would have intended for an “injury” such as this to justify an aggravated child molestation conviction.

Georgia criminal defense lawyers will be paying close attention to this case and how the appellate courts deal with this conviction on appeal.  The defense’s argument on appeal will be that the pain to the child is so far removed from the sexual act that it cannot be sufficient to constitute the “physical injury” element of the offense of aggravated child molestation.

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