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COMMONWEALTH v. PALMER (06/15/60)

June 15, 1960

COMMONWEALTH
v.
PALMER, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 94, April T., 1960, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County, Sept. T., 1958, No. 41, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William Palmer. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

William M. Acker, for appellant.

William Claney Smith, Assistant District Attorney, with him Edward C. Boyle, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, Watkins, and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Watkins

[ 192 Pa. Super. Page 608]

OPINION BY WATKINS, J.

This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence imposed by the Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County. The appellant, William Palmer, was charged with statutory rape and corrupting the morals of a minor. The jury found him not guilty of statutory rape but guilty of corrupting the morals of a minor. Motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were argued and denied; and the appellant was sentenced to one to two years in the Allegheny County Workhouse.

The minor prosecutrix, Mary Ellen Hassett, was 14 years of age; the appellant, William Palmer, is a married man, 22 years of age. She and a girl friend were invited by Palmer to go for a ride in his car. There were six people in the car, three male, three female. They drove around for several hours. Palmer and the other men secured beer in quart bottles; she was given beer by Palmer and consumed about one-half quart. She got dizzy. Palmer drove all the occupants of the car home except Mary. He then stopped with her in

[ 192 Pa. Super. Page 609]

    an alley and she testified that he grabbed her; pulled her down on the seat and started to take her clothes off. She further testified that he exposed his sexual organs and had intercourse with her; that she was bleeding and that he gave her his "T" shirt to wipe up the blood. When he left her off she reported the incident to a storekeeper, who sent for the police.

The Act of June 3, 1953, P.L. 277, § 1, 18 PS § 4532, under which he was convicted, provides: "Whoever, being of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, by any act corrupts or tends to corrupt the morals of any child under the age of eighteen years,... is guilty of a misdemeanor." There was most certainly sufficient evidence in this case to support the conviction of the crime of statutory rape. Perhaps, as pointed out by the Commonwealth, the attack on the reputation of the child for chastity may explain the reluctance of the jury to convict him of the more serious crime. But regardless of the verdict of acquittal for statutory rape, there remains a wealth of evidence to support the conviction of corrupting the morals of a minor, as provided in the act. Com. v. Blauvelt, 186 Pa. Superior Ct. 66, 140 A.2d 463 (1958).

What was said by Judge WOODSIDE in Com. v. Stroik, 175 Pa. Superior Ct. 10, at page 15, 102 A.2d 239 (1954), that "'Delinquency' is a very broad term involving in some cases a single act and in others a course of conduct, sometimes with no single act sufficiently serious to warrant a finding of delinquency... 'Contributing to delinquency' is also a broad term involving conduct toward a child in an unlimited variety of ways which tends to produce or to encourage or to continue conduct of the child which would amount to delinquent conduct" applies equally well to "corrupting the morals" of ...


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