Overhaul proposed for handling sex assaults in Minnesota

Panel issues 47-page report with recommendations.

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 6:59 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Lawmakers need to take action to overhaul how police respond to sexual assault cases, a panel convened by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson recommended Tuesday.

The blue-ribbon working group issued a 47-page report that makes a series of recommendations for the upcoming legislative session, and separate sets for law enforcement and prosecutors. They include improving investigations with mandatory standards, a focus on including victims and establishing a statewide coordinating council on sex crimes. It also calls for better training of police, more services for victims and audits of law enforcement responses to sex crimes.

Swanson assembled the task force after an investigation by the Star Tribune found widespread lapses in how sexual assault cases are handled, including failures in police training and staffing. The newspaper said it found that chronic errors and failings plague most rape investigations in Minnesota, and repeat rapists often slip past police.

Citing Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension data, the report said the percentage of reported rapes cleared by arrest in 2017 was barely half the success rate of murder investigations.

Swanson said at the group's final meeting that she wants the report to serve as a guide for lawmakers next year and in subsequent sessions. She said she'll continue to advocate for the recommendations even after she leaves office in three weeks.

"Non-action is not going to be an option," she said. "We have failed people here and we have got to stop failing the public."

Former Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson chaired the nine-person group, which also included representatives from law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates and medical professionals.

Teri McLaughlin, executive director of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, called the report a "great start" and expressed optimism that it will drive improvements.

"We need to really start by agreeing that we believe a crime has been committed," McLaughlin said. "In the same manner that we believe that of other crimes when they're reported. And from that and from that we have a basis to move forward."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57162

Reported Deaths: 1660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin18197820
Ramsey7047261
Dakota4049103
Anoka3410113
Stearns284220
Washington193843
Nobles17496
Olmsted163523
Scott141017
Mower10842
Rice10028
Blue Earth8595
Wright8205
Carver7922
Clay75240
Kandiyohi6771
Sherburne6577
St. Louis45319
Todd4202
Lyon4163
Freeborn3551
Steele3331
Nicollet32013
Benton3103
Watonwan2990
Winona24916
Crow Wing21313
Martin2045
Le Sueur2021
Beltrami2000
Chisago1821
Otter Tail1793
Goodhue1778
Cottonwood1730
Becker1471
Pipestone1439
McLeod1400
Unassigned14040
Polk1353
Itasca13412
Douglas1320
Waseca1300
Pine1280
Carlton1260
Dodge1230
Murray1221
Isanti1100
Chippewa991
Brown852
Faribault840
Meeker832
Morrison821
Wabasha820
Sibley802
Rock750
Koochiching743
Pennington731
Jackson700
Mille Lacs683
Cass622
Fillmore610
Renville605
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant511
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau460
Pope450
Houston390
Norman370
Hubbard320
Redwood320
Marshall290
Kanabec281
Wilkin283
Aitkin270
Mahnomen241
Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake200
Lake180
Stevens160
Clearwater150
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson30
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 46100

Reported Deaths: 887
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9781203
Woodbury365651
Black Hawk302262
Linn214587
Johnson195915
Dallas179635
Buena Vista178612
Scott161512
Dubuque154929
Marshall139424
Pottawattamie122723
Story111714
Wapello85032
Muscatine83048
Webster7366
Crawford7213
Sioux6022
Cerro Gordo57917
Tama53929
Warren5341
Jasper45825
Wright4441
Plymouth4438
Louisa37814
Dickinson3754
Clinton3213
Washington28810
Hamilton2411
Boone2312
Franklin2256
Bremer1927
Clarke1883
Carroll1821
Emmet1812
Clay1711
Shelby1691
Hardin1660
Marion1550
Allamakee1504
Poweshiek1508
Benton1451
Jackson1411
Des Moines1392
Mahaska13617
Floyd1312
Guthrie1285
Jones1242
Cedar1201
Hancock1172
Butler1152
Buchanan1141
Henry1143
Pocahontas1141
Lyon1060
Madison1052
Clayton993
Cherokee981
Harrison980
Lee973
Taylor930
Humboldt921
Delaware911
Iowa901
Monona900
Winneshiek861
Mills830
Calhoun822
Fayette810
Sac810
Palo Alto800
Kossuth780
Osceola780
Jefferson770
Winnebago770
Mitchell760
Page760
Grundy741
Union721
Monroe677
Worth610
Chickasaw510
Davis501
Lucas504
Howard490
Cass481
Montgomery453
Appanoose433
Greene380
Fremont350
Van Buren331
Keokuk311
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur220
Adair210
Ringgold211
Wayne181
Adams160
Unassigned00
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