Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is referred to as “criminal sexual conduct” under Minnesota law. The offense includes conduct that ranges from unwanted sexual contact such as touching clothing that covers an intimate part of the body to rape with a dangerous weapon. Criminal sexual conduct under Minnesota law also covers activities such as sex with a minor and incest.

Definition of Sexual Assault Minnesota law defines “sexual assault” to include four degrees of criminal sexual conduct as well as incest. The variation in degree is related to status and relationship of the persons involved as well as factors such as the ages of the victim and perpetrator, their relationship, and the presence of weapons.
  • First degree sexual conduct – First degree is the most serious level of the offense. This type of violation includes forced intercourse with a person age 16 or older in which the victim has fear of imminent bodily harm, the perpetrator uses a dangerous weapon to force the victim to consent, or the perpetrator causes bodily harm to the victim. If the victim is under 13 and the perpetrator is at least 36 months older, in a position of authority, or has a significant relationship with the child. The penalty for this degree is up to 30 years imprisonment, a fine up to $40,000, or both. 
  • Second degree criminal sexual conduct – This includes circumstances described in first degree conduct except that it involves sexual contact instead of penetration. The penalty is up to 25 years imprisonment, a fine up to $35,000, or both. 
  • Third degree criminal sexual conduct – Third degree sexual assault includes various acts involving juveniles that are considered less serious than those covered by first degree sexual conduct. It includes penetration of any age if force or coercion is used. The penalty is up to 15 years imprisonment, a fine up to $30,000, or both. 
  • Fourth degree criminal sexual conduct – This is similar to the third degree, except that it applies to sexual contact instead of penetration. The penalty is imprisonment up to 10 years, a fine up to $20,000, or both. If the victim is 13-15 years old and the actor is less than 4 years older, the penalty cannot exceed 5 years imprisonment. 

Costs of Medical Examination and Emergency Care 

The cost of a sexual assault evidentiary exam conducted for the purpose of evidence collection shall be paid by the county in which the sexual assault occurred. Minnesota state law also requires hospitals to orally inform female sexual assault victims about the option of being provided emergency contraception to victims who request it. 

HIV Testing 

Minnesota law allows for a victim to request that the prosecutor make a motion for an offender convicted of criminal sexual conduct or a violent crime to be tested for the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody under certain circumstances. 
Residency Restrictions

Notice to Victims about Sexually Transmitted Diseases 

A hospital staff, under Minnesota law, shall give written notice about sexually transmitted diseases to a person receiving medical services in the hospital who reports or evidences a sexual assault or other unwanted sexual contact or sexual penetration. When appropriate, the notice must be given to the parent or guardian of the victim. 

Insurance Coverage for Victims Protected 

Minnesota law protects victims of sexual assault from having their insurance changed, denied, or cancelled due to results of an HIV test on the offenders or themselves. These organizations are also prohibited from asking an applicant for coverage or a person already covered whether the person has had a test performed for the reason set forth above or has been the victim of an assault or any other crime which involves bodily contact with the offender. However, this does not apply to HIV tests performed at the insurer’s direction as part of its normal underwriting requirements. 

Rape Shield Law

Minnesota law limits the admissibility of evidence concerning the previous sexual conduct of a victim of sexual assault. This is to prevent an attack of the victim’s character and keep out evidence unrelated to the case. Such evidence can be admissible only if the probative value of the evidence is not substantially outweighed by its inflammatory or prejudicial nature and only in certain situations.

Right to Supportive Person

A prosecuting witness in any case involving criminal sexual conduct may choose to be accompanied by a supportive person, whether or not a witness, at the omnibus or other pretrial hearing.

Notice of Decision Not to Prosecute

A prosecutor is required to make a good faith effort to notify a victim of domestic assault, sexual assault, or harassment that he or she has decided to decline prosecution of the case or to dismiss the criminal charges filed against the defendant. Along with notice of a dismissal of charges, Minnesota statute requires the prosecutor to make a record of the specific reasons for the dismissal. If the dismissal is due to the unavailability of the witness, the prosecutor must indicate the specific reason that the witness is unavailable. The prosecution is also required to inform the victim of the method and benefits of seeking an order for protection or a restraining order, and that the victim may seek an order without paying a fee.

Residency Restrictions

A juvenile sex offender age 15 or older cannot reside within 1,000 feet or three city blocks from the victim for all or part of the time that the offender is under court jurisdiction.

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