INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court is taking up the case of a
man who used a camera hidden in one of his shoes to secretly shoot video
under the skirts of teenage girls at an Indianapolis shopping mall.
The state's high court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Thursday
involving David Delagrange, a 44-year-old Fort Wayne man convicted of
attempted child exploitation and sentenced in March 2012 to six months
Delagrange was arrested in in February 2010 at an Indianapolis mall and
found to have video images of a 15-year-old girl and three 17-year-olds.
Court records state he did not deny trying to film beneath the skirts of
the girls, one of whom said he stood so close to her she could feel his
Delagrange entered stores at the mall, including a clothing store for
teen girls, and secretly placed his camera-equipped shoe between their
legs to take pictures under their skirts or dresses, according to court
But the state Court of Appeals threw out his conviction in January,
finding his behavior did not violate state law pertaining to child
In its 2-1 ruling, the court found that the Marion County jury that
convicted Delagrange should have found him innocent because the law
would have required the girls to have exposed themselves in order to
support a conviction, and prosecutors presented no such evidence.
The court found the law requires prosecutors to prove Delagrange tried
to obtain images of "sexual conduct by a child" — specifically that they
would have had to expose their genitals in a manner "intended to satisfy
or arouse" another person's sexual desires.
"The phrasing of the statute demands the child be performing the sexual
conduct," Judge Melissa May wrote in ruling.
In his dissenting opinion, Judge Edward Najam Jr. said the law could not
be interpreted to depend on the child's intentions, writing that doing
so "undermines the very foundation of the statute, which was designed to
In its brief asking the court to reinstate Delagrange's conviction,
state attorneys said the evidence supports the attempted child
exploitation charges. Despite Delagrange's contention at trial that he
had tried to film the feet or stockings of women, it notes the images he
obtained were only of teenage girls and were filmed up their skirts.
Jennifer A. Drobac, a professor at the Indiana University School of Law
in Indianapolis, said the high court will have to consider the vague
elements of the state's child exploitation law the case illuminated.
"A logical reading of the law is that the child would have to intend it.
But that doesn't make any sense because the child is the one you're
trying to protect in the statute," she said.
Delagrange was originally also charged with voyeurism, but those charges
were dropped on the basis that voyeurism means peeping inside a
dwelling, not looking up a skirt in a public place.
State lawmakers have since changed Indiana's voyeurism law to cover
No matter how the court rules, Drobac said she hopes the justices
suggest that state lawmakers also tweak the wording of the state's child
Delagrange's attorney, Michael Borschel, said he would try to persuade
the court during Thursday's arguments that the state appeals court was
correct in its ruling overturning his client's conviction.
"That's it in a nutshell," he said.