Minnesota Lawyer Blogs
The long reach of #metoo in Minnesota
Criminal sexual conduct is a serious offense at all levels â€” and always has been. But with the #metoo movement, it has been pushed farther into the public eye. Consequently, more allegations are being made than ever before, often blindsiding those who are accused and making defense work more challening.
Imagine this scenario: Youwent to a party just before your first year of college. You had a little too much to drink, and so did a woman with whom you were flirting. You were both 17.You both engaged some consensual kissing and cuddling, and you moved your hands, touching her inner thigh over her clothes.
She said â€śno,â€ť and you stopped. You continued kissing, but caught up in the moment, you touch her inner thigh again. She stops you and breaks off the encounter. You go your separate ways.
You finish college and grad school, get a job and settle into your career. And then you get a call from the police â€“ who now want to talk to you about that forgotten incident at the party.
Youâ€™re stunned. What did you do wrong? And hasnâ€™t it been too long?
To answer the first question, when you touched her inner thigh after being told â€śno,â€ť you may have committed fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. As to the second question, no â€“ it hasnâ€™t been too long.
If a complaining witness was under 18 years of age at the time of the alleged conduct, Minnesotaâ€™s statute of limitations (Minn.Stat. Â§ 628.26(e), (f)) gives prosecutors nine years â€” or three years after the incident is reported to law enforcement, whichever is later â€” to bring criminal sexual conduct charges. This means that a complainantwho was under the age of 18 can make allegations at any time.
If acomplaining witness was 18 or older at the time of the alleged offense, the limitations period for fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct is three years â€” which was the limitations period for all criminal sexual conduct offenses prior to 1984.
Today, charges for more-serious sex crimes â€” fourth-degree and higher â€” must be brought within nine years of the date of the offense. However, if physical evidence that can be tested for DNA has been preserved, there is no limitations period: DNA-based allegations can be made at any time.
If you find yourself accused of alleged criminal sexual conduct, an experienced defense attorneyâ€” like the lawyers at Halberg Criminal Defense â€” can help. Halberg Criminal Defense attorneys are available 24-7 â€” Call us at 612-DEFENSE (612-333-3673).