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: 609016

Reported Deaths: 7741
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1261631795
Ramsey52955910
Dakota47198475
Anoka43176465
Washington27637296
Stearns22651227
St. Louis18233319
Scott17667139
Wright16506153
Olmsted13495103
Sherburne1211496
Carver1073349
Clay829392
Rice8247111
Blue Earth769244
Crow Wing687298
Kandiyohi669685
Chisago626754
Otter Tail589887
Benton585098
Goodhue485474
Mower477333
Douglas477281
Winona463252
Itasca462668
Isanti445066
McLeod433861
Morrison427462
Beltrami410163
Nobles409650
Steele400519
Polk390772
Becker389157
Lyon365054
Carlton356858
Freeborn350134
Pine337223
Nicollet333845
Mille Lacs314556
Brown308640
Le Sueur299427
Todd288033
Cass287933
Meeker265144
Waseca240723
Martin236833
Roseau212021
Wabasha20833
Hubbard197641
Dodge18883
Renville183046
Redwood177941
Houston175316
Cottonwood168124
Wadena164923
Fillmore158910
Faribault156920
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec147828
Sibley147310
Aitkin139137
Watonwan13619
Rock129019
Jackson123112
Pipestone117126
Yellow Medicine115320
Pope11366
Murray107210
Swift107218
Koochiching96819
Stevens92611
Clearwater89217
Marshall88817
Lake84020
Wilkin83713
Lac qui Parle76122
Big Stone6094
Grant5958
Lincoln5863
Mahnomen5669
Norman5509
Kittson49022
Unassigned47993
Red Lake4037
Traverse3815
Lake of the Woods3474
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 374664

Reported Deaths: 6109
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58891646
Linn21448342
Scott20426250
Black Hawk16680319
Woodbury15319230
Johnson1473686
Dubuque13595213
Dallas1144099
Pottawattamie11307177
Story1082848
Warren592092
Clinton564393
Cerro Gordo562297
Webster538996
Sioux519174
Muscatine4920106
Marshall491479
Des Moines478275
Jasper452073
Wapello4366123
Buena Vista431040
Plymouth404982
Lee392658
Marion369177
Jones301257
Henry301037
Bremer292763
Carroll286252
Boone271234
Crawford270841
Benton262755
Washington259851
Dickinson250745
Mahaska232551
Jackson225842
Kossuth219166
Clay217327
Tama213372
Delaware211743
Winneshiek200636
Buchanan196734
Page195422
Cedar192923
Hardin191144
Wright189140
Fayette188243
Hamilton186851
Harrison181973
Clayton173057
Butler167835
Madison167719
Floyd164642
Mills163824
Cherokee161538
Lyon160941
Poweshiek159036
Allamakee155552
Hancock153134
Iowa148324
Winnebago145731
Calhoun143113
Cass140855
Grundy139333
Emmet136741
Jefferson134535
Sac132620
Shelby131838
Louisa130249
Union129535
Appanoose128049
Franklin127823
Mitchell127243
Chickasaw125717
Guthrie124532
Humboldt124526
Palo Alto114924
Montgomery106738
Howard105322
Clarke102424
Monroe100633
Keokuk99932
Ida92735
Adair89632
Davis86825
Pocahontas86822
Monona85931
Greene79111
Osceola79017
Lucas77423
Worth7568
Taylor67112
Decatur6629
Fremont64810
Ringgold56824
Van Buren56718
Wayne56323
Audubon52913
Adams3494
Unassigned90
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