Minnesota lawmakers are hoping to strengthen extortion laws in the state by adding a clause that specifically addresses extortion for sex. At the moment, Rep. Kelly Moller, DFL Shoreview, says extortion for sex is not currently part of Minnesota’s criminal code.
“There is nothing in the criminal code that makes blackmailing, or extortion for sex, a crime,” said Moller. “The Legislature spent nearly two years studying and reexamining the state’s criminal sexual conduct code and that is one of the things that stood out.”
Moller recently introduced a bill that would make such an act a felony-level offense.
Sextortion In Minnesota
According to lawmakers, there have been more than a few instances of reports of sexual extortion in the rental housing communities. In many instances, low-income renters are being preyed on by landlords who threaten eviction or who offer to money off of the rental cost if the renter engages in sexual intercourse.
“We have heard from quite a few survivors that landlords will often use sexual extortion as a means to harass vulnerable women,” said Moller. “Sometimes landlords will threaten to evict a woman unless she engages in sex, or a landlord might offer cheaper rent in exchange for sex and it puts these survivors in a terrible position and it should be a felony crime to do something like this.”
Kaarin Long, an attorney for the group Advocates for Human Rights, said the bill will make it easier for survivors to take civil action against the perpetrators. She said immigrants and low-income individuals looking for housing or employment can be especially vulnerable to sextortion.
“We have seen people use sexual extortion with immigration issues, housing issues, employment issues and even confidentiality issues,” said Long.
The proposal passed the House Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support and is expected to continue to receive support until it becomes law.
If you or someone you know has been victimized by sextortion and you don’t know where to turn, reach out to the lawyers at Appelman Law Firm. Although we’re defense attorneys, we have a number of connections in the legal community to help you get the services you need during this difficult time. And if you’ve been unjustly charged with sextortion and need legal help, give us a call to learn more about your options. (952) 224-2277.