United States v. Duong, No. 16-6078 (10th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Defendants were charged in a two-count superseding indictment with child sex trafficking and conspiracy to engage in child sex trafficking. The superseding indictment asserted only one basis by which the government would seek to prove mens rea as to the child victim’s age: that Defendants had a reasonable opportunity to observe the child before engaging in a commercial sex transaction. Defendants moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing it failed to allege the mens rea element of child sex trafficking. The district court agreed and dismissed the indictment. The government appealed, arguing it could meet its burden with regard to Defendants’ awareness of the child victim’s age by showing only that Defendants had “a reasonable opportunity to observe” the victim. The Tenth Circuit agreed and reversed the district court.