This case was an appeal by the State from a district court order dismissing charges of lewdness with a minor for failure to meet an essential element of the test laid out in NRS 201.230. Catanio worked as a teacher’s aide and volunteer track coach at a middle school in Reno, Nevada. During the fall of 2002, Catanio befriended three young boys and began giving them gifts on a daily basis. The gifts escalated from candy to more elaborate, personal and inappropriate objects including video game systems, air pistols, pornographic material and condoms. In December 2002, Catanio escalated the relationship with the boys during a snowball fight. Catanio invited the boys to go behind some bushes and masturbate. Catanio promised the boys cash if the did so. Two of the three boys accepted Catanio’s offer and masturbated behind some bushes while Catanio watched from his car. A few days later, Catanio bought a cell phone for one of the boys; they used the phone for sexually oriented conversations. In two separate instances, two of the boys snuck out of the house to meet Catanio. Each time, Catanio provided the boys with alcohol, pornographic material and a condom and invited them to masturbate. Catanio admitted to the authorities that he was aroused at each of these instances, but at no time did Catanio have any physical contact with the boys. He only masturbated after taking the boys home. The district court, after reviewing the grand jury testimony, dismissed the lewdness charge against Catanio. The district court concluded that NRS 201.230 required actual physical contact between the accused and the victim. On appeal the State argued that physical touching was not an essential element of NRS 201.230. To support this, the State pointed to California’s lewdness statute2, which is very similar to Nevada’s, has been interpreted to require that the accused act to instigate or encourage the touching. The touching necessary under California’s statute may be the child’s upon himself if done at the perpetrators urging. The court ultimately held that NRS 201.230 did not require a physical touching by the accused, but based its rationale on several fronts. First, as a matter of statutory interpretation the court found that the language of NRS 201.230 supported the outcome. NRS 201.230 states in relevant part:
Carson, Christopher, "Summary of State v. Catanio, 120 Nev. Adv. Rep. 103" (2004). Nevada Supreme Court Summaries. 700.