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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.

Cases: 554536

Reported Deaths: 7083
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1155051679
Ramsey47786853
Dakota42410422
Anoka38477415
Washington24913273
Stearns20994218
St. Louis16774297
Scott15946117
Wright14764127
Olmsted1273297
Sherburne1060080
Carver980145
Clay781289
Rice7632101
Blue Earth695840
Kandiyohi627380
Crow Wing615086
Chisago548250
Otter Tail542673
Benton530597
Mower450532
Goodhue442471
Douglas441870
Winona438149
Nobles400248
Morrison394659
McLeod394355
Isanti375159
Beltrami372257
Itasca370752
Polk365367
Steele361914
Becker353948
Lyon347848
Carlton329352
Freeborn326829
Pine311821
Nicollet306542
Brown294439
Mille Lacs281250
Le Sueur269722
Todd268730
Cass249626
Meeker235937
Waseca231221
Martin212529
Wabasha19953
Roseau197318
Renville172043
Hubbard171841
Dodge17123
Redwood166435
Houston162614
Cottonwood156821
Fillmore15169
Pennington150619
Chippewa145836
Wadena144021
Faribault143419
Sibley135710
Kanabec130621
Aitkin128636
Watonwan12549
Rock122719
Jackson117310
Yellow Medicine110419
Pipestone109725
Murray10229
Pope10226
Swift99518
Marshall85617
Stevens82010
Lake78419
Clearwater77414
Koochiching76913
Wilkin76812
Lac qui Parle73522
Big Stone5644
Lincoln5592
Grant5478
Norman5229
Mahnomen5048
Unassigned49578
Kittson46622
Red Lake3877
Traverse3595
Lake of the Woods3053
Cook1450

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357796

Reported Deaths: 5821
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk55970604
Linn20297330
Scott19082234
Black Hawk15550306
Woodbury14897221
Johnson1404281
Dubuque13153202
Dallas1089196
Pottawattamie10747162
Story1031147
Warren555186
Clinton537390
Cerro Gordo521986
Webster508291
Sioux506073
Marshall477174
Muscatine459896
Des Moines441465
Wapello4253120
Buena Vista421740
Jasper407670
Plymouth397079
Lee368155
Marion354575
Jones293055
Henry286137
Bremer279260
Carroll279151
Crawford262040
Boone258533
Benton250355
Washington249550
Dickinson242043
Mahaska224850
Jackson217942
Kossuth212663
Clay211025
Tama206671
Delaware202839
Winneshiek194433
Page190321
Buchanan188831
Cedar183823
Fayette182941
Wright180435
Hardin179942
Hamilton178049
Harrison176373
Clayton167055
Butler162534
Mills158620
Cherokee157138
Floyd155342
Lyon154741
Madison153919
Poweshiek152733
Allamakee149051
Iowa145524
Hancock143534
Winnebago136031
Grundy135232
Cass134354
Calhoun133211
Jefferson130635
Emmet128840
Shelby128337
Sac127219
Louisa126849
Appanoose126747
Mitchell125241
Union124032
Chickasaw122615
Humboldt118326
Guthrie117929
Franklin112721
Palo Alto110922
Howard102822
Montgomery100637
Unassigned10030
Clarke98223
Keokuk94530
Monroe94128
Ida89633
Adair84532
Pocahontas83621
Monona81230
Davis79924
Greene76710
Osceola75516
Lucas74923
Worth7078
Taylor65212
Fremont6139
Decatur5899
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
Wayne52123
Audubon4949
Adams3284
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