Court overturns man’s sex abuse convictions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Court of Appeals has thrown out the convictions of an eastern Iowa man who had pleaded guilty to lascivious acts with a child and sexual abuse.

Richard Dustin Scott Blanchard appealed his convictions in Delaware County claiming his lawyer should not have allowed him to plead guilty to lascivious acts with a child because the girl involved in his case was 14. In Iowa criminal cases anyone 14 or older is not legally a child. Court documents say he was 24 when he had sex with the girl last summer.

The justices say since the girl didn’t meet the legal definition of a child there’s no factual basis for the charge. Justices say in Thursday’s ruling prosecutors may refile charges they believe they have evidence to prove.

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