The vast majority of states have strong laws on the books when it comes to sexual abuse of a child, and Minnesota is no different. Below, we take a closer look at what constitutes sexual abuse of a minor in Minnesota, and how the crime is punished.
Minnesota Child Molestation Law
Minnesota statute 626.556 states that a person is guilty of child abuse if:
- Physical or mental injury is inflicted on a child other than by accidental means or which can’t reasonably explained.
- Any aversive or deprivation procedures take place.
- Sexual contact occurs.
- There exists neglect or a failure to protect the child from conditions that endanger the child’s health.
- Discipline occurs which is deemed to be unreasonable for the situation.
In most cases, sexual abuse charges will be brought as a felony-level offense.
Penalties For Child Molestation in Minnesota
If a person is charged for molesting a child, they will likely be charged with criminal sexual conduct. Here’s a look at the penalties for criminal sexual conduct based on the level of offense.
- 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct – Any person who engages in sexual penetration with another person, or in a sexual contact with a person under 13 years of age is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. A person convicted of this crime may be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison or fines up to $40,000.
- 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct – This charge involves sexual contact without penetration. There may also be violence or the threat of violence. It often occurs when the victim was extremely young, did not consent or was unable to consent. A person convicted of this crime can be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison and fines up to $35,000, or both.
- 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct – A third degree charge involves penetration, however the incident is not viewed as severe as a first or second degree charge. It is considered aggravated contact rather than assault. Potential penalties for third degree criminal sexual conduct can be penalized by up to 15 years in prison or fines up to $30,000.
There are also lesser degrees of criminal sexual conduct, but we also want to highlight the potential crime of failing to report abuse. Under Minnesota law, if a person knows or has reason to believe that a child is being neglected or physically or sexually abused, they are required by law to report their suspicions, or they can be charged with a crime. Individuals who suspect abuse are required to report their suspicions to either a police department, county sheriff, local welfare agency or another area agency who is responsible for investigating such reports. Failing to report child molestation or sexual abuse can be punished with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony charge depending on what happens to the child in the situation.
If you’ve been charged or know someone who needs help after a criminal sexual conduct charge, reach out to the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Appelman Law Firm. For more information on the services we provide, reach out to our office today.