Hennepin County District Court File No. 27CR1138328.
Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Linda M. Freyer, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Jennifer L. Lauermann, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Stauber, Judge; and Hooten, Judge.
Appellant argues that he is entitled to withdraw his guilty plea to second-degree criminal sexual conduct because the factual basis for the plea did not establish that he intended to contact the victim's intimate parts and because his conduct was more properly characterized as the offense of malicious punishment of a child or third-degree assault. We affirm.
According to a criminal complaint, appellant Timothy Chandler was caring for his three-year-old step-son when he struck the child repeatedly on his bottom with a belt, resulting in severe injuries to the child. The child was not yet toilet trained and had developmental delays and sensory integration disorder. Earlier in the day, appellant became angry at the child and struck him with a belt because the child had defecated and smeared feces on the wall. The child's mother asked appellant not to punish the child like that. Later, the child's mother left the child in appellant's care while she went to pick up another child from school. When she returned, another child noticed a blood-soaked towel in the bathroom, whereupon appellant admitted that he struck the child again with the belt because the child again smeared feces on the walls. The mother woke the child and discovered blood in his diaper. She took the child to the emergency room, and doctors discovered a 3-centimeter-long laceration on the child's scrotum, a 1-centimeter-long laceration on the child's penis, severe swelling of the penis and scrotum, and severe contusions on the child's thighs, abdomen, buttocks, and back. The lacerations required twelve stitches. Appellant later admitted to the police that he "whooped" the child "6 times with a belt while the [child] was standing in the bathtub."
Appellant was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct under Minn. Stat. § 609.343, subd. 1(e)(i) (2010). Appellant signed a guilty plea petition and acknowledged that he went over it with his attorney and understood the rights he was waiving. At the plea hearing, appellant expressed concern that the wording of the statute did not fit the crime he committed because he did not act with sexual intent. The court explained that "it's the language of the statute in the eyes of the law that controls, " and discussed Ahmed, stating that "although technically the offense you're pleading guilty to was labeled sexual—with sexual intent, you're not pleading guilty to that . . . . You're pleading guilty to the touching of this child's private parts in a hostile manner."
Appellant's counsel elicited the following factual basis:
Q: Now, [appellant], is it true that on December 7th of 2011 you were in the city of Minneapolis here in Hennepin County?
Q: And, you were essentially taking care of your ...