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Lawmakers working to close loophole in criminal sexual conduct law

In Minnesota, a person is guilty of rape if the victim was mentally incapacitated. But as it turns out, there's a loophole in the law. The Minnesota Supreme Court voted unanimously that the victim wasn't mentally incapacitated because she had voluntarily gotten drunk.

Posted: Mar 29, 2021 4:46 PM

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Minnesota Supreme Court overturned a sexual assault conviction last week, causing national outrage. According to court documents, Francois Khalil met a woman outside a Minneapolis bar in 2017. She had voluntarily taken five vodka shots and a prescription drug pill. The woman testified that she blacked out and woke up to Francois assaulting her.

A Hennepin County jury convicted Khalil. In Minnesota, a person is guilty of rape if the victim was mentally incapacitated. But as it turns out, there's a loophole in the law. The Minnesota Supreme Court voted unanimously that the victim wasn't mentally incapacitated because she had voluntarily gotten drunk. Khalil will be getting a new trial.

Now, pressure is on lawmakers to pass a bill closing this loophole. State Rep. Kelly Moller's bill H.F. 707 was already in action before the court ruling was made. One of its purposes is to modify and clarify criminal sexual conduct provisions.

State Rep. Liz Boldon of Rochester is supporting the bill as it moves through the House. "I was not aware of the intricacies of this issue, and so I was a bit surprised and like many others, was sort of outraged. Like, how could this happen? How could this be?" She explains this is not a problem in the courts, who are interpreting the law as it stands. It's a problem with the law itself. "We know that victims who are intoxicated beyond their ability to give consent deserve justice and that is why we need to pass this legislation to make this possible. This is a failing not necessarily of the court, but a gap in the statute and one that the legislature has in its power to fix, and we need to do so expeditiously," she explains.

The Senate has introduced a similar bill as well. Changing the language of the law has support on both sides of the aisle.

"I believe that everyone deserves justice. A person who is intoxicated to the point that they are not able to give consent should get justice as well and currently the way the statute reads, we're seeing that that isn't happening," says Boldon.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office and Minnesota Attorney General's Office are expressing support for the Minnesota legislature to close the loophole.

Khalil’s lawyer said Sunday there’s no way the justices would unanimously agree unless the case against his client was fatally flawed.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 614990

Reported Deaths: 7771
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1276671805
Ramsey53587912
Dakota47636477
Anoka43650466
Washington27897298
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St. Louis18418321
Scott17814139
Wright16652153
Olmsted13678104
Sherburne1221696
Carver1084049
Rice8336112
Clay831592
Blue Earth775144
Crow Wing694099
Kandiyohi675385
Chisago631855
Otter Tail594387
Benton590498
Goodhue489174
Douglas481781
Mower480334
Winona467852
Itasca465768
Isanti448567
McLeod438061
Morrison431162
Beltrami413563
Nobles411950
Steele403219
Polk391673
Becker390557
Lyon367354
Carlton357958
Freeborn356234
Pine339023
Nicollet335745
Mille Lacs317256
Brown310040
Le Sueur302128
Todd290533
Cass290033
Meeker269044
Waseca243923
Martin238333
Roseau213121
Wabasha20963
Hubbard199241
Dodge19383
Renville184746
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Houston177916
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Fillmore162310
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
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Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
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Page195722
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Wright191240
Hamilton189251
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Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
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Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
Jefferson135535
Sac133320
Shelby132238
Louisa130749
Union129535
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