INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Supreme Court is taking up the case of a Fort Wayne man accused of using a camera hidden in one of his shoes to shoot video under the skirts of teenage girls at an Indianapolis shopping mall.
The state's high court will hear oral arguments Thursday in the case of David Delagrange, 44, convicted of attempted child exploitation and sentenced in March 2012 to six months in prison.
Delagrange was arrested in February 2010 at an Indianapolis mall and found to have video images obtained from beneath the skirts of a 15-year-old girl and three 17-year-olds, according to officials.
The state appeals court threw out Delagrange's conviction in January.
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Delagrange's behavior didn't violate state law regarding attempted child exploitation because the statute makes only "sexual conduct by a child" illegal and no such conduct was alleged.
Delagrange was arrested in February 2010 at Castleton Square Mall. He did not deny that he attempted to take photographs beneath women's skirts, court records said.
Judge Melissa May wrote that under the law, the girls would have had to expose themselves to satisfy sexual desires.
"The state presented no evidence the victims exhibited their genitals or intended to satisfy anyone,' " May wrote in the 2-1 decision.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Edward Najam Jr. said that the law governing child exploitation could not be interpreted to depend on the child's intentions.
"Such an interpretation improperly focuses the elements of the crime on the actions of the child and undermines the very foundation of the statute, which was designed to protect children," Najam wrote.
Delagrange was originally also charged with voyeurism. But a court commissioner in Indianapolis dismissed those charges on the basis that voyeurism means peeping inside a dwelling, not looking up a skirt in a public place.