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Degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct

There are five different categories of criminal sexual conduct in the state of Minnesota, all of which come with serious consequences.

First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

First degree criminal sexual conduct involves “sexual penetration” in addition to one or more of the following aggravating factors:

  • Victim is under the age of 13, and the defendant is 3 or more years older
  • Victim is 13-15 years of age and offender is:
    • Four years older
    • In an authority position and uses that position to force submission
  • Victim is under the age of 16 and:
    • Offender has a significant relationship with the victim and/or the offender:
      • Uses force or coercion
      • Uses or threatens to use a weapon
      • Causes victim fear of bodily harm
      • Injures victim
      • Commits numerous sex acts over a period of time
  • Victim has fear of great bodily harm
  • Offender uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon
  • Offender injures victim and:
    • Uses force or coercion
    • Victim is mentally impaired/incapacitated, or physically helpless
  • Offender is assisted by an accomplice who uses force or a dangerous weapon

Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Second degree criminal sexual conduct charges follow the same guidelines as first degree criminal sexual crimes. The difference is that “sexual penetration” is not needed. Instead, the law requires only “sexual contact.”

Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Third degree criminal sexual conduct is also similar to first degree criminal sexual conduct where “sexual penetration” is needed.

Third degree criminal sexual conduct requires “sexual penetration” and one or more of these aggravating factors:

  • Victim is under 13, and defendant is less than 3 years older
  • Victim is 13, 14, or 15, and defendant is 2 years older
  • Victim is 16 or 17, and the offender:
    • Has a significant relationship with victim
    • Is in an authoritative position over victim and uses that position so victim will submit
    • Has significant relationship to victim, and:
      • Uses force or coercion
      • Uses or threatens use of real or fake weapon
      • Causes victim reasonable fear of great bodily harm
      • Causes personal injury to the victim
      • There are multiple sexual acts committed over an extended time
  • Defendant uses force or coercion
  • Defendant knows or has reason to know victim is mentally impaired/incapacitated or physically helpless
  • Defendant is aided or abetted by an accomplice who uses force or threatens to use a dangerous weapon
  • Offender is a psychotherapist, victim is a patient and:
    • The act occurs during a therapy session
    • Emotionally dependent on defendant
    • The act results from a therapeutic deception
    • The offender is a health care professional, and the act occurs by means of false representation

Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Fourth degree criminal sexual conduct charges may be issued in the same instances as in third degree charges but with “sexual contact” rather than “sexual penetration.” Other aggravating factors for fourth degree offenses are:

  • Victim is 13, 14, or 15, and offender is:
    • Four years older
    • In a position of authority, and uses that position to force submission

Fifth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Fifth degree criminal sexual conduct involves any of the following:

  • Nonconsensual sexual contact with anyone
  • Engaging in masturbation or lewd exhibition of the genitals in the presence of a minor under the age of 16
  • Removal or attempted removal of clothing covering intimate parts or undergarments
  • Nonconsensual touching of the intimate parts of another, if performed with sexual or aggressive intent