D owned a disco. D employed a girl at the disco who was 16 years old who danced for tips, i.e. stripper.
Police saw this and questioned D since they thought the girl was young.
D told police that she verified the age of the kid before she started dancing (untrue since girl didn't have ID the day D hired her).
D was charged with endangering the welfare of a child under the state's criminal code. It requires that the D "knowingly encourages, aids or causes" a child less than 17-years-old to be exposed to an environment injurious to the child's welfare.
D argued that she didn’t have the requisite intent since she didn't actually know the child was under 17.
Lower court found D guilty.
MO COA reversed, D not guilty.
Must a D have actual knowledge of the existence of the attendant circumstances which constitute the crime to "knowingly" engage in criminal conduct?
A D must have actual knowledge of the existence of the attendant circumstances which constitute the crime to "knowingly" engage in criminal conduct
The applicable criminal code defines knowingly as actual knowledge, excluding those cases where a D has "willfully shut his eyes" to avoid knowing.
MPC includes willful blindness, but the state code has not adopted that definition for knowingly. Thus, there has to be actual knowledge.
D did not check the girl's ID, but that does not prove that D actually knew the girl was less than 17.
D was only aware of a high probability that the girl was under 17 which does not amount to actual knowledge under the state criminal code.