The Fourth Department, reversing the “luring a child” convictions, over a two-justice dissent, determined the convictions were against the weight of the evidence. The court noted that if the evidence of an element of an offense is legally insufficient the conviction of that offense is against the weight of the evidence:
The evidence at trial established that, when defendant was 30 years old, he met 16-year-old BD on an adult dating website. The two thereafter communicated via cell phone, text messages, Facebook messaging, Skype and Snapchat. Shortly thereafter, NS, a friend of BD, initiated contact with defendant through Facebook. NS was also 16 years old at the time. While communicating for weeks with both BD and NS via cell phone, text messages, Facebook, Skype and Snapchat, defendant lied about his age and his military status, among other things. Also, he flattered the girls by saying that they were “really cute” and that he “really liked” them. Both girls lived in Ontario County and were juniors in high school.
Defendant eventually met NS in person and drove her to his house in Monroe County, where they had sexual intercourse. Over the ensuing two or three weeks, defendant drove NS to his house three more times to engage in sexual activity. In the meantime, defendant twice had both sexual intercourse and oral sexual contact with BD, once at her house in Ontario County after picking her up at school and driving her home, and the other time at his house after driving her there. * * *
… [T]o convict defendant of luring a child, the People were required to establish that, on or about the dates alleged in the indictment, defendant lured the victims into his motor vehicle, that the victims were less than 17 years of age, and that defendant engaged in that activity for the purpose of committing a felony sex offense against the victims … . In our view, the People failed to prove that defendant lured the victims into a motor vehicle. …
The fact that defendant drove the victims to his house days and weeks later cannot transform his statements into luring. People v Ringrose, 2020 NY Slip Op 04719, Fourth Dept 8-20-20