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People v. Morger

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

August 3, 2016

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CONRAD ALLEN MORGER, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County No. 12CF1330 Honorable Scott Daniel Drazewski, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Appleton and Pope concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          STEIGMANN JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Following a February 2014 bench trial, the trial court convicted defendant, Conrad Allen Morger, of (1) aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/11-1.60(d) (West 2010)) and (2) criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/11-1.50(a)(1) (West 2010)). The court later sentenced defendant to (1) 180 days in jail, which the court stayed, and (2) probation for 48 months.

         ¶ 2 Defendant appeals, arguing that the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of either charge. Alternatively, defendant argues that (1) the conditions of his probation were unreasonable, overly broad, and unrelated to his conviction or rehabilitation; and (2) the trial court erred by delegating its judicial discretion to the McLean County court services department to determine an appropriate sentence. For the following reasons, we affirm in part and vacate in part.

         ¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 A. The State's Charges

         ¶ 5 In January 2013, the State charged defendant with (1) aggravated criminal sexual abuse and (2) criminal sexual abuse. Each charge alleged that defendant's criminal acts- perpetrated against his sister, K.M. (born September 22, 1997)-occurred between August 2010 and November 2012.

         ¶ 6 B. The State's Evidence

         ¶ 7 The following evidence was presented by the State at defendant's February 2014 bench trial.

         ¶ 8 In December 2012, Normal police department detective William Angus observed an interview that a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigator conducted with K.M. Statements K.M. made during that interview caused Angus to interview defendant (born May 14, 1992) later that same month. A recording of Angus's interview with defendant- which was played for the trial court-revealed the following.

         ¶ 9 Defendant began the interview by admitting to Angus that he had "messed up" and had done "something terrible to [K.M.]." Defendant recalled that K.M. was seated on the living room couch located in their parents' home when he "touched [K.M.] inappropriately" on her "private parts." When Angus asked whether defendant had touched K.M.'s vagina and breasts, defendant nodded affirmatively and said, "Yes, both, " adding, "as far as I remember." Defendant added that he made skin-to-skin contact with K.M.'s breasts and rubbed her vagina underneath her clothing with his hand. During his touching, K.M. did not say "a whole lot." Defendant could not remember how he manipulated K.M.'s clothes to touch her breasts and vagina. Afterward, defendant told K.M. that "we couldn't do it again" and "not to tell mom and dad." Defendant could not provide the date when this specific incident occurred but estimated that it happened more than a year earlier, when he was a high school junior. Defendant approached K.M. at that time because he was "horny" and "it seemed like a good idea for whatever reason."

         ¶ 10 Angus told defendant he had information that defendant inappropriately touched K.M. on three different occasions. Defendant admitted that (1) although he could not recall how many times he had done so, his inappropriate touching occurred "more than once"; (2) he "touched [K.M.] everywhere"; (3) the first incident occurred when he was "probably a junior" in high school; (4) the last incident occurred when he was in high school; and (5) in May 2010, he graduated high school. Defendant stated that he had "touched [K.M.] and made [K.M.] touch me." Although defendant did not "think it was that abrupt, " he "was sure" that he grabbed K.M.'s hand and placed it on his penis.

         ¶ 11 Defendant stated that "the same stuff, the same things happened" during the subsequent incidents, but he reiterated that he could not remember how many additional times he had inappropriately touched K.M. Defendant denied that he had inappropriately touched K.M. in the past year. When Angus asked again whether defendant had touched K.M.'s breasts or vagina, defendant replied, "I'm sure I did both times. I am sure I did both times."

         ¶ 12 At one point, Angus stopped questioning defendant and left the interview room. Before leaving, Angus provided defendant a pad of paper so that he could write down any information that might cause him to remember dates and times. Defendant's subsequent notes, which were admitted into evidence, revealed the following:

"I did it for my own urge. I don't know when I thought it would be a good idea, but I did. And then I did it again more times. Not frequently like once a day. Other than because felt [sic] terrible about it, I don't know why it was sporatic [sic]. I really do want to get help. I want [K.M.] to get as much as she needs too. Because it's my fault she needs in the first place [sic]. I can't remember how many times it happened, I know I did it more than once, I know touched [sic] her everywhere. I am so sorry I caused [K.M.] this pain."

         ¶ 13 Connie Morger, defendant's mother, testified that prior to K.M.'s December 2012 interview at the child advocacy center, K.M. told her about defendant's inappropriate touching. When Connie and her husband, Rob Morger (the biological father of K.M. and defendant), confronted defendant, he would neither confirm nor deny K.M.'s accusation. Connie and Rob immediately "removed" defendant from their home to ensure K.M's safety. Thereafter, K.M. received counseling to address her "guilt, embarrassment, and remorse."

         ¶ 14 K.M., who was then 16 years old, testified that the "incidents" with defendant occurred "more than twice." The following exchange occurred:

"Q. [Assistant State's Attorney]: *** In a general sense, what are the parts of your body that people shouldn't touch?
A. [K.M.]: Your body, because it's your own body. It's your own personal space.
Q. *** But are there some parts that are more private than others?
A. Yeah.
Q. *** What are those parts?
A. Your legs and your chest and your head.
** *
Q. *** [I]s it appropriate if someone touches your butt? A. No.
** *
Q. And you said your chest. Are we talking about all your chest-
A. Yep.
Q. -or are we talking about your breasts?
A. All of it.
Q. *** [I]s it appropriate if someone touches your vagina?
A. No.
Q. *** Were any of those body parts the ones that were touched ...

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