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RELEASE: House Public Safety Committee discusses Rep. Moller bill to update state criminal sexual conduct code

Thursday, February 18, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Thursday, the House Public Safety & Criminal Justice Reform Committee approved legislation authored by Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL – Shoreview) to comprehensively update Minnesota’s criminal sexual conduct (CSC) statute. In 2019, Rep. Moller successfully championed legislation to create a working group to fully examine the current law, which is full of contradictions, loopholes, and other shortcomings which all create barriers for survivors to receive justice. That working group has completed its final report, and Rep. Moller’s bill reflects those recommendations.

“This bipartisan bill is a major step toward the systemic change survivors are counting on to deliver justice, hold offenders accountable, and come closer to our shared goal of ending sexual violence,” Rep. Moller said. “Thank you to the working group members for taking on this challenge, and most importantly, to the brave survivors who have continued to tell their stories, highlighting how the criminal justice system has failed them. They share their stories in public knowing it won’t likely change the outcome regarding their own case, but don’t want the same thing to happen to someone else.”

The bill makes a wide variety of changes including:

  • Modifying the definition of “mentally incapacitated” to remove a roadblock to prosecuting cases where the victim was intoxicated
  • Modifying the definition of “coercion” to include situations where the complainant may fear infliction of bodily harm by an accomplice
  • Modifying “significant relationship” under CSC so the definition includes adults who were involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship with a victim’s parent
  • Age-related changes and measures to protect children

Additionally, the bill creates a new crime of sexual extortion. This addresses instances when someone threatens harm—other than physical harm—to extort unwanted sexual contact with a victim using extortion or blackmail to compel a victim into unwanted sexual contact.

The bill’s next stop is the House Judiciary Committee where it will receive further consideration.

Video of the hearing will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. More information, including documents from the hearing, are available on the committee’s webpage.