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Leroy v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

March 22, 2019

JAMES LEROY CAYTON APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM FRANKLIN CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE THOMAS D. WINGATE, JUDGE ACTION NO. 17-CR-00006

          BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: C. Mike Moulton Elizabethtown, Kentucky

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Andy Beshear Attorney General of Kentucky Julie Scott Jernigan Assistant Attorney General Frankfort, Kentucky

          BEFORE: DIXON, GOODWINE, AND MAZE, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          MAZE, JUDGE.

         KRS[1] 510.155(1) makes it unlawful for "any person to knowingly use a communications system . . . for the purpose of procuring or promoting the use of a minor, or a peace officer posing as a minor if the person believes that the peace officer is a minor[, ]" for sexual or prohibited activities. A Franklin County jury found Appellant, James LeRoy Cayton, guilty under this statute for sending emails and text messages to a peace officer posing as an adult female offering to arrange for a sexual encounter between Cayton and her thirteen-year-old daughter. Cayton contends a finding of a guilt is permissible under KRS 510.155 only if the defendant believes he is communicating with a minor. For reasons stated below, we hold that a person can be found guilty under KRS 510.155 by communicating through an adult intermediary. We therefore affirm Cayton's conviction.

         I. Background and Procedural History

         Cayton posted an ad on the website Craigslist seeking a partner for "Taboo Role-Playing Fun." Cayton's ad expressed an explicit interest in incest role-playing. Cayton received a response from "Vanessa," purportedly a divorced adult woman with a thirteen-year-old daughter. Cayton and Vanessa then began conversing through texts and email, with Cayton expressing an explicit interest in having sex with both Vanessa and her daughter. Cayton also asked Vanessa to speak to her daughter about the potential sexual encounter. The following exchange through text messages is illustrative:

Cayton: How'd the talk [with the daughter] go?
Vanessa: Ok
Cayton: Well lol [laugh out loud]. What she say and what u tell her or talk to her about lol?
Vanessa: Just asked if she wants to meet a friend for lunch next week and that she can't say anything to my bf [boyfriend] about it because he would not understand
Cayton: Oh ok. Talk to her about sex at all?
Vanessa: Just that an older person has more ...

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