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MN Legislature Passes Much of MNCASA’s Sexual Assault Policy Agenda

Saturday, May 25, 2019: The Minnesota Legislature passed, in special session, the Public Safety/Judiciary Omnibus Bill. This bill includes numerous amendments to existing statutes as recommended by MNCASA. Most of this legislation we worked to pass is in the 2018 omnibus bill. This includes:

  • Amending the Position of Authority statute to create a 120-day lookback period for criminal sexual conduct cases involving position of authority, and defining position of authority when someone assumes a parent’s rights, duties and responsibilities. For example, if a student is being groomed during the school year, the current statute would not consider teachers, coaches, etc. a “person in a position of authority” during the summer break. This adjustment will correct that.This success is particularly meaningful, as we have been working to strengthen the statutes that define position of authority for nearly ten years.
  • Removing language in Minn. Stat. 609.3451 that excludes the intentional touching of clothing covering the immediate area of the buttocks. This eliminates a gap in Minnesota’s criminal sexual conduct statute and allows for a legal response when someone is touched with sexual or aggressive intent.
  • Barring sexual contact by peace officers when an individual is physically or constructively restrained.

MNCASA, alongside courageous victim/survivor Jenny Teeson, worked to repeal the Voluntary Relationships (Minn. Stat. 609.349) defense to criminal sexual conduct. This bill passed the House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Walz on May 2, 2019.

And finally, MNCASA is thrilled that in accordance with our policy agenda, the legislature created a Criminal Sexual Conduct Statutory Reform Working Group. This multidisciplinary group will be convened by the Department of Public Safety – Office of Justice Programs and must be “inclusive of marginalized communities as well as victim and survivor voices.” MNCASA will work to insure that this group addresses the definition of mental incapacitation to improve prosecution of some alcohol or other substance related criminal sexual conduct cases, the statute of limitations, and other issues identified by survivors and advocates. We are also extremely pleased that the legislature created a Task Force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

KiloMarie Granda, Director of MNCASA member program Unspoken Voices stated, “MNCASA worked tirelessly to insure legislators prioritized victims and survivors throughout the legislative session.”

MNCASA Interim Executive Director Hannah Laniado commented, “MNCASA would like to thank the survivors who testified at multiple hearings to engage lawmakers around these issues. We appreciate Representative Carlos Mariani and Senator Warren Limmer who chaired committees that devoted significant time to bills of importance to victims and survivors. And we are grateful to Representative Kelly Moller, who authored the criminal sexual conduct statutory reform working group bill and tirelessly fought to keep these issues at the forefront. We appreciate the legislators who worked to pass these bills; and we also want to acknowledge that we have a long way to go before our law reflects a trauma-informed, victim-centered response to sexual violence in Minnesota.  We will keep fighting until they do.”