"Dangerous State of Justice" Executive Summary
Minnesota's Decriminalization of Child Sexual Exploitation
Examples in the News Now
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Tuesday November 29, 2016
New Report Examines Minnesota’s “Dangerous State of Justice”
Most Child Predators Get Probation, Child Pornography Decriminalized
(MINNESOTA) Minnesota courts are granting probation for most sexual assaults on children and have virtually decriminalized trafficking in child pornography, according to a report just released by the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT).
PROTECT’s 45-page report, “Dangerous State of Justice,” found that 65% of all offenders convicted of felony sexual assault against children (Criminal Sexual Conduct 1-4) never see a day in prison. In those crimes, 90% of victims are girls and 40% are under age 13.
“When a Stanford student got probation for raping a woman earlier this year, the nation erupted in outrage,” said J. Christian, CEO of PROTECT. “Yet, behind these Minnesota numbers are hundreds of similar cases, where judges gave rapists probation for attacks on children.”
The report also examines the Minnesota Incest Loophole, which allows judges to grant probation instead of prison for the most serious sexual assaults against children if the court deems it to be in the best interest of “the family unit.”
Perhaps the most shocking finding, says PROTECT, is that Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines have decriminalized trafficking of video and photographs of children being raped, tortured and sexually displayed. A review of 909 cases from 2001-2014 found that 90% of those convicted of possession and distribution of child abuse imagery (child pornography) were given probation.
“Dangerous State of Justice” lists sentencing patterns of specific Minnesota judges, details the state’s outrageous sentencing guidelines, and discusses problems with how child protective services responds to public reports of child maltreatment. It also makes 19 specific recommendations for legislative action.
“These judges haven’t gone rogue,” said Grier Weeks of PROTECT, one of the report’s authors. “Tolerance for sexual violence is deeply embedded in the Minnesota justice system. But it is deeply hypocritical to decry sexual violence and exploitation then treat it like a trivial crime.”
PROTECT is urging Minnesotans to ask their state representatives and senators to read the report and take action.
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