Task force formed on sexual assault in Minnesota

Newspaper reporter alleges cases aren't being investigated.

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 3:51 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson on Tuesday joined a chorus of politicians calling to address police departments' handling of sexual assault cases, forming a new task force in light of a Star Tribune investigation that discovered widespread failings.

The Minneapolis newspaper published a yearlong investigation that analyzed more than 1,000 sexual assault cases from 20 different departments statewide over a recent two-year period and discussed individual cases with victims who felt their cases weren't adequately handled. Their review found that police departments never assigned an investigator in 25 percent of reported cases, never interviewed witnesses in half of them.

Just a quarter of the cases were forwarded to prosecutors for possible criminal charges. Less than 1 in 10 of the cases reviewed by the Star Tribune resulted in a conviction.

Minnesota law enforcement representatives called the newspaper's finding troubling but not surprising. Nate Gove, director of the Peace Officer Standards and Training board, said many law enforcement agencies don't have enough time or money to investigate every case.

But the investigation triggered prompt outrage and sharp response from other state officials, including state lawmakers and office-seekers.

Sen. Warren Limmer, a top Republican, promised Monday that lawmakers would "be digging deeper in public hearings to find out why Minnesota's law enforcement agencies have failed so many women" when they return next year. Gubernatorial hopeful and state Rep. Erin Murphy called for a task force to audit police department investigations of sexual assaults.

Like Murphy, Swanson is running in an Aug. 14 Democratic primary for governor. The task force announced Tuesday would include victim advocates, law enforcement representatives, health care professionals and lawmakers. Spokesman Ben Wogsland said the final makeup of the task force hadn't yet been determined.

Swanson indicated it should consider policies and training for departments to impose when handling sexual assault cases, noting that Minnesota does not currently require such training of its officers.

"Victims of sexual assault deserve justice, and these cases deserve thorough and proper investigation and prosecution by the criminal justice system," she said. "My hope is that the task force can help identify reforms to make Minnesota a national leader in the handling of these cases."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 755401

Reported Deaths: 8531
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1513291905
Ramsey62614972
Dakota56158520
Anoka53010513
Washington33145327
Stearns27922252
St. Louis23178352
Scott21316159
Wright20879170
Olmsted17821118
Sherburne15232111
Carver1336954
Clay1006598
Rice9855131
Blue Earth949559
Crow Wing9254105
Kandiyohi819195
Chisago816662
Otter Tail7807104
Benton7363108
Beltrami633276
Mower631740
Douglas616189
Goodhue603683
Winona603653
Itasca596978
McLeod580868
Steele572425
Isanti558172
Morrison541565
Becker518762
Polk502577
Freeborn480842
Nobles477052
Lyon444456
Carlton438666
Nicollet423051
Pine419930
Cass413142
Mille Lacs403565
Brown398846
Todd389336
Le Sueur378331
Meeker350452
Waseca322629
Martin316534
Wabasha28495
Hubbard283644
Dodge26819
Roseau258924
Fillmore236312
Redwood234143
Wadena230229
Houston229017
Renville224249
Faribault214630
Pennington213227
Sibley204512
Cottonwood193027
Kanabec187130
Chippewa185839
Aitkin178442
Watonwan168711
Pope15328
Rock153219
Yellow Medicine151120
Jackson144114
Koochiching137219
Clearwater133318
Swift132619
Pipestone131627
Marshall131419
Murray131310
Stevens122311
Lake106221
Wilkin100214
Lac qui Parle95024
Mahnomen86312
Norman8459
Big Stone7874
Grant7669
Lincoln7525
Kittson59522
Red Lake5769
Unassigned528124
Traverse5005
Lake of the Woods4524
Cook2420

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 467281

Reported Deaths: 6685
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk73698716
Linn28680379
Scott24441271
Black Hawk20130355
Woodbury18854242
Johnson17800100
Dubuque15577228
Pottawattamie14073197
Dallas13894107
Story1275148
Warren763496
Webster6876111
Cerro Gordo6816107
Clinton6814100
Des Moines657893
Marshall635484
Muscatine6294113
Wapello5807136
Jasper571478
Lee560787
Sioux560276
Marion499791
Buena Vista489745
Plymouth459187
Henry378647
Jones365160
Washington362255
Bremer353867
Benton352056
Boone344837
Carroll341753
Crawford337345
Mahaska313656
Dickinson297651
Clay274631
Buchanan274239
Jackson270445
Kossuth269373
Hardin266448
Tama261476
Fayette253848
Delaware253444
Cedar246326
Page244827
Wright240945
Winneshiek230837
Hamilton228553
Floyd216744
Harrison215277
Madison214325
Clayton210058
Poweshiek206840
Iowa204229
Butler203237
Jefferson197340
Mills197227
Allamakee192952
Cherokee191943
Lyon190641
Cass190557
Winnebago185432
Hancock184739
Calhoun184115
Appanoose175950
Shelby174239
Louisa169651
Grundy167937
Emmet163842
Franklin163328
Humboldt161826
Mitchell161843
Union159437
Chickasaw156418
Sac156323
Guthrie154034
Palo Alto140831
Clarke140028
Montgomery138941
Keokuk137534
Monroe131534
Howard125422
Ida116641
Davis113825
Greene113712
Lucas112224
Pocahontas109323
Monona107436
Worth10678
Adair103634
Osceola91117
Fremont83711
Van Buren82721
Decatur81212
Taylor78612
Wayne72024
Ringgold66827
Audubon64514
Adams4984
Unassigned150
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