In the State of Minnesota, a sex offense is called “criminal sexual conduct” in the statutes. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/609.341 Colloquially, sex crimes are called rape, incest, indecent exposure, sexual assault, child pornography, etc.
In Minnesota, both at the state and federal level, when a person is convicted of a sex crime, he or she will receive some of the longest prison sentences around. It is probably harder to defend a sex crime than a murder case. Typically, if a sex crime case goes to trial, the jurors’ emotions are inflamed before the case even starts. These are the types of cases that are most likely to go to trial as well. This is because the offers of settlement from the State are usually so long, meaning years in prison, whereby the defendant really has nothing to lose by going to trial.
So, what are the most common types of sex offenses in the State of Minnesota.
In Minnesota, there are five primary levels of criminal sexual conduct. There is 1st degree criminal sexual conduct, 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct, 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct, 4th degree criminal sexual conduct, and 5th degree criminal sexual conduct. Levels 1st through 4th are all felonies. Level 5th degree is usually a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor.
1st and 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct involve penetration.
2nd and 4th degree criminal sexual conduct involve touching.
5th degree criminal sexual conduct usually involves indecent exposure, either with an adult or child.
Sex with a Minor
Surprisingly, most felony criminal sexual conduct cases involve an adult having sexual relations with a child with whom he lives, or, is the child of a girlfriend. Thus, in shorthand, it most commonly involves incest of some sort. As noted above, the penalties can be very severe. A first time conviction of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct calls for a prison sentence of 12 years. A person who is amenable to sex offender treatment in the community, and is able to remain law abiding, may be able to get his sentence switched to probation, and avoid a prison sentence.
Rape cases are relatively uncommon. It is relatively uncommon that a stranger, a man, will forcibly have sex with a female he does not know. Rape is a felony. If a person is convicted, he will very likely receive a lengthy prison sentence, which will be made longer by aggravating factors.
Statutory rape usually involves two consenting teenagers. Parents are not happy with their daughter having had sex with a boy. Sometimes, the boys do take advantage of young girls, and have sex with young girls, who are just too weak to say no. Whether this is criminal primarily depends on the age difference between the boy and girl. If there is a significant difference in ages, and the boy is in his teens, he will be charged with a felony. This has the potential of destroying this boy’s entire life, because he could be required to complete sex offender treatment, and, register for 10 years to life, and, potentially, even though a juvenile, could go on his public record for life. It has been discovered that most children can be put through a boundaries course, or sex offender treatment, sometimes residential, and then taught appropriate and legal sexually related behavior. It is not uncommon for the parties to work out a settlement agreement to keep a felony adjudication off of the juvenile defendant’s record, in sympathetic cases. A sympathetic case usually involves two teens close in age, who have been boyfriend and girlfriend, and engaged in sexual intercourse or the like. There is hope in these cases of preserving the future of the juvenile defendant.
In recent years, the sentences for possession, or distribution of child pornography, or the like, have gotten very long. In State court, for a first offense, the sentence can be 8 years. In federal court, the sentence will run 20 to 40 years. A defendant is usually caught after viewing and downloading child pornography into their own computer. There are tracking mechanisms on line which alert authorities that a person has downloaded child pornography, or shared it with other people. Sharing it with other people constitutes distribution of child pornography.
Enticement of a Minor
This offense is the one that you usually see on TV, where the authorities conduct a sting operation. Usually, a fake ad is placed. An undercover agent will pretend to be a child. Typically, the undercover agent will respond to a person seeking a sexual encounter. After the suspect and undercover agent begin texting, the undercover agent will tell the suspect that they are 15 years old. Later, the undercover agent will propose to meet the suspect somewhere for a sexual encounter. When the suspect arrives at the location they agreed to meet, the suspect is arrest and charged. This offense is a felony.
Failure to Register
Failure to register is a felony. After a person is convicted of criminal sexual conduct, they are required to register. The registration requirements generally involve registering your name, address, motor vehicle, and place of employment with the police department near where you reside. The authorities also will sometimes do random checks, to see if a person is actually living where they say they are living. Under today’s statutes, a person, after being convicted of a criminal sexual conduct offense, will usually be required to register for 10 years, or life, the latter if they are convicted of more than one offense.
Indecent exposure typically involves a person engaging in masturbation in a public place, such as in their car. Someone sees them, and reports is to the police. This behavior constitutes a misdemeanor.
It gets much more serious when such behavior is done around a child. The first offense is a gross misdemeanor. The second offense is a felony.
Prostitution is paying another person, usually a woman, for sexual acts. Typically, if arrested, the person’s name and photograph and charges will be published on the internet.
Adultery is a gross misdemeanor. It is defined as a married woman having sexual intercourse with a man who is not her husband, married or not. Both persons are guilty.
Bigamy is a felony, with a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.00. Bigamy is getting married to a person who is still married to another.
Fornication is a misdemeanor. It is defined as a man having sex with a single woman. Both persons are guilty.
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