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State v. Bolsinger

Supreme Court of Iowa
709 N.W.2d 560 (Iowa 2006)


John Bolsinger (defendant) was a program supervisor at a state facility for delinquent boys. The Iowa Department of Human Services received allegations of sexual abuse and conducted an investigation into Bolsinger. The investigation included interviews with past and present youths from the program. The investigation revealed that Bolsinger took boys into a private area and touched their genitals. Bolsinger did this under the guise of checking for certain maladies, including bruises, hernias, and testicular cancer. The boys testified that (1) Bolsinger asked permission before touching them; (2) the boys were not aware that the touching was sexual in nature; and (3) given the highly structured nature of the program, it would have been almost impossible for the boys to refuse the request of an instructor. The boys further testified that if they were aware of the sexual nature of the contact, they would not have consented. Bolsinger was convicted of third-degree sexual abuse, sexual exploitation by a counselor, and sexual misconduct with juvenile defenders. The court of appeals affirmed Bolsinger’s convictions. Among other arguments, Bolsinger appealed on the grounds that (1) the trial court misapplied the statute for third-degree sexual abuse, and (2) the trial court erred in classifying Bolsinger’s conduct as sex acts.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Larson, J.)

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