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: 128152

Reported Deaths: 2354
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin33024980
Ramsey13609355
Dakota9467136
Anoka8324150
Stearns554641
Washington539968
Scott326534
Olmsted315930
St. Louis279765
Wright233214
Nobles219516
Clay215343
Blue Earth20037
Carver17247
Kandiyohi16395
Sherburne160621
Rice15929
Mower149915
Winona122518
Crow Wing94721
Lyon9416
Chisago9202
Waseca9199
Benton8827
Beltrami8397
Otter Tail7896
Todd7525
Steele7342
Nicollet70017
Itasca69617
Morrison6578
Freeborn6494
Douglas6323
Martin60216
Le Sueur5985
McLeod5764
Watonwan5724
Polk5574
Goodhue54211
Becker5193
Pine5190
Isanti5115
Chippewa4153
Carlton4031
Dodge3790
Mille Lacs37613
Hubbard3462
Cass3445
Wabasha3430
Pipestone33616
Meeker3183
Brown3113
Rock3113
Yellow Medicine2715
Cottonwood2650
Unassigned26553
Murray2643
Redwood26011
Fillmore2450
Sibley2423
Renville23711
Faribault2210
Roseau2160
Wadena2082
Jackson2041
Kanabec19410
Swift1931
Houston1861
Stevens1741
Lincoln1720
Pennington1711
Koochiching1644
Aitkin1592
Pope1520
Big Stone1310
Lac qui Parle1303
Wilkin1274
Lake1110
Norman1050
Mahnomen1041
Marshall971
Grant924
Clearwater880
Red Lake662
Traverse540
Lake of the Woods431
Kittson370
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111117

Reported Deaths: 1587
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18419283
Woodbury697994
Johnson571730
Black Hawk535098
Linn5245129
Dubuque489654
Scott421037
Story391018
Dallas336944
Pottawattamie309144
Sioux234314
Buena Vista222512
Marshall195936
Webster178914
Plymouth159426
Wapello149462
Clinton140926
Muscatine139358
Crawford133712
Des Moines13059
Cerro Gordo130423
Warren11856
Carroll107212
Jasper105534
Henry10075
Marion95710
Tama91837
Lee90710
Delaware72912
Dickinson7117
Wright7071
Boone6969
Mahaska65924
Bremer6389
Washington62711
Harrison6238
Jackson5583
Benton5381
Lyon5287
Louisa50715
Clay5044
Hamilton4613
Winnebago45818
Winneshiek4559
Hardin4495
Kossuth4460
Poweshiek44111
Floyd42411
Jones4223
Cedar4205
Buchanan4194
Emmet41517
Iowa3948
Cherokee3832
Franklin37818
Sac3774
Guthrie37615
Clayton3753
Page3740
Shelby3601
Mills3551
Butler3542
Fayette3543
Cass3512
Madison3512
Allamakee3438
Chickasaw3381
Clarke3283
Humboldt3083
Hancock2984
Palo Alto2982
Grundy2895
Calhoun2854
Howard2619
Osceola2610
Monroe25111
Mitchell2380
Monona2361
Taylor2302
Union2194
Appanoose2173
Pocahontas2172
Jefferson2121
Lucas1976
Fremont1881
Ida1842
Greene1820
Van Buren1662
Davis1634
Montgomery1616
Adair1481
Keokuk1481
Decatur1430
Audubon1381
Worth1340
Wayne1133
Ringgold832
Adams700
Unassigned140
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