Survivors of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and other sexual crimes deserve justice and support. If your family has recently suffered due to sexual violence, you may have concerns like:
- Will the person responsible be arrested and convicted?
- What are our options if the court doesn't convict?
- Can others who enabled abuse be held liable?
- How can a victims' rights lawyer help our family?
Our Minnesota sexual abuse victims' lawyers understand what your family is going through. We're prepared to help you find justice.
Sexual predators and the organizations which enable, cover up, or fail to report their crimes need to be held accountable for the devastation they've caused.
"Recommended." Brian was always there to support us.
If you’re looking for justice after you or a loved one has become the victim of a sexual assault or child sexual abuse, you may be unsure where to start. It’s important to consider how both the criminal and civil court systems can help you. We suggest beginning by contacting a sexual assault hotline, seeking medical attention, preserving evidence, and contacting the police. A criminal investigation can help prosecute the sexual offender who committed the crime and prevent them from harming others.
Minnesota Criminal Sexual Misconduct Laws
Unfortunately, the criminal court system does little to consider the needs of victims. In 2006, Minnesota spent $130.5 million on the prosecution and monitoring of sexual offenders, but only $90.5 million on the victims of sexual assault. That's why many victims turn to civil lawsuits in order to secure financial support and hold sexual predators accountable when the criminal justice system fails to get a conviction.
Our Minnesota sexual abuse victims lawyers help victims find justice through civil courts in ways they can't find it criminal court, including:
- Holding sexual predators liable, in some cases even without a criminal conviction
- Holding organizations, businesses, and other third parties liable for enabling sexual abuse
- Providing financial compensation for personal and financial losses related to abuse
Child Sexual Abuse Criminal Statutes
In Minnesota, there are a couple of state sexual abuse laws that specifically apply in cases with child victims. However, some of the general sexual assault statues listed later in this page also apply in cases involving child victims.
Solicitation Of Children To Engage In Sexual Conduct
A person 18 years or older can be found guilty of a felony for soliciting a child or someone the person reasonably believes to be a child to engage in sexual conduct. This crime is punishable by up to 3 years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.
Communication Of Sexually Explicit Materials To Children
It’s also a felony for anyone over 18 years of age to use the Internet, a computer, electronic communications system, or any other electronic device capable of data storage or transmission to engage in any of the following acts:
- Communicating with a child or someone the person believes to be a child and discussing or describing sexual conduct
- Distributing any material, language, or communication, including photographs and videos, that are related to or describe sexual conduct to a child or someone the person believes is a child
The penalty for communication of sexually explicit materials to children is also up to 3 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
General Sexual Assault Statutes In Minnesota
In Minnesota, most crimes of sexual violence fall under one of five degrees of criminal sexual misconduct.
Criminal Sexual Conduct
In Minnesota, all crimes which would be considered rape, sexual assault, or sexual battery in other states are covered under a statute called criminal sexual conduct. This statute covers everything from groping and unwanted sexual touching to violent rapes committed with the use of a deadly weapon.
Criminal sexual conduct can be charged in one of five degrees:
First-degree sexual conduct involves what other states would consider rape. A person can be charged with this crime for engaging in forced sexual intercourse with another person when the victim has fear of bodily harm, the perpetrator uses a dangerous weapon, or the perpetrator seriously injures the victim.
In cases where the victim is younger than 13 and the perpetrator is at least three years older, the charge will be first-degree for any sexual contact, even if penetration was not involved.
This charge also applies in cases where the victim is between 13-16 years old and the perpetrator is in a position of authority or has a significant relationship with the victim.
A conviction for criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, a fine up to $40,000, or both.
Second-degree criminal sexual conduct occurs when a person subjects someone else to sexual contact (without penetration) under any of the circumstances described under first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Third-degree criminal sexual conduct involves acts committed against juveniles, including penetration through the use of force or coercion. Psychotherapists, members of the clergy, and government employees can be found guilty of third-degree CSC for engaging type of sexual penetration with a minor. This crime is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a maximum $30,000 fine, or both.
Fourth-degree sexual conduct charges are similar to the circumstances covered under third-degree, except the crime involves sexual conduct without penetration. This crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a maximum $20,000 fine.
A person can be charged with criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree if he or she engages in nonconsensual sexual contact (such as attempts to remove clothing with sexual intent) or knowingly masturbating or exposing their genitals in the presence of a child under 16 years old. This crime is a gross misdemeanor, typically punishable by up to one year in prison. But if the offender has a prior conviction, the charge will be upgraded to a felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
Criminal Sexual Predatory Conduct
Anyone who commits a crime that was motivated by his or her sexual impulses or was a part of a predatory pattern of behavior with criminal sexual conduct as its goal is guilty of criminal sexual predatory conduct. The sentence will be 25 percent longer than the sentence for the underlying crime, or 50 percent longer if the offender has a previous sex crime conviction.