According to one recent study, about 80 percent of alleged sex crime victims knew their attacker. Some studies put the figure above 90 percent. If there was a prior relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim, the consent defense almost always comes up.
“Consent” has a very specific legal and factual definition in Minnesota, so St. Paul sex crime attorneys must use both the facts and the law to establish a firm consent defense.
If successful, consent is a complete defense to criminal sexual conduct and most other sex crimes. So, there is a lot at stake, for both prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Section 609.341 defines consent and other key terms in Minnesota sex crime cases. In this context, consent has the following elements:
Furthermore, some people cannot consent as a matter of law. It does not matter how earnestly, or how often, they say “yes.” Basically, an inability to say no invalidates the yes. Such relationships include clergy-parishioner, underage-overage, guard-prisoner, and therapist-patient.
WIth regard to professional relationships, these individuals may be unable to consent after the relationship ends, if they are still emotionally dependent on the defendant.
In some underage cases, Minnesota’s Romeo and Juliet law applies. Usually, the defendant is not guilty of criminal sexual conduct if s/he was only slightly older than the alleged victim. However, the defendant may be guilty of another crime, such as indecent exposure.
Minnesota law clearly states that “Corroboration of the victim’s testimony is not required to show lack of consent.” In other words, the testimony of an alleged victim is taken at face value. But that’s not true if a St. Paul sex crime attorney raises the consent defense. There must be some corroboration. In fact, there must be considerable corroboration, since a St. Paul sex crime attorney has the burden of proof on this point.
Flirtatious conduct and public displays of affection immediately prior to the alleged criminal sexual conduct may be corroborating evidence. But it’s pretty shaky.
As mentioned, a prior relationship does not establish consent. However, a prior relationship may be corroboration of consent. Indeed, even if the alleged victim consented with someone else on a prior occasion, a Ramsey County judge might allow the evidence on a limited basis.
Delayed reporting may also be supporting circumstantial evidence. Some Ramsey County jurors interpret it as such, and some do not.
Consent might be an effective defense in most criminal sexual conduct prosecutions. For a free consultation with an experienced St. Paul sex crime attorney, contact Capitol City Law Group, LLC. Go online now, call us at (651) 998-7634, or stop by 287 6th St E, Suite 20, St Paul, MN 55101.