On April 13, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded a district court decision that denied a naturalization application for lack of good moral character. The USCIS initially denied the applicant’s naturalization case because a state administrative proceeding found merit in a sexual abuse complaint against him and placed him on a state administrative registry. The district court granted summary judgment to the government.  

The U.S. Court of Appeals remanded the case because it found no legal basis or prior case law to support denial of a naturalization application based on the outcome of an administrative proceeding. No criminal charges were brought against the applicant, and the applicant’s daughters had consistently recanted their prior allegations. Furthermore, the alleged conduct occurred more than 5 years prior to the date of the naturalization application, even though his name was on the registry at the time of the application; the court found that his listing in the registry did not constitute “conduct” for purposes of the good moral character requirement.