Minnesota Teacher-Student Sexual Relationships

Dakota Co. Attorney James C. Backstrom


”Quite frankly, it should be a crime,” said County Attorney Backstrom.  He pushed to change the law after a similar case nearly a decade ago.

In light of the new cases, he says he will once again encourage lawmakers to make teacher-student sexual relationships illegal, regardless of the student’s age.

“I’ll raise this issue again with legislators here in Dakota County and hopefully get the bill introduced again next session, Backstrom said. “I think it’s worth another try.”

KARE 11 Investigates: Teacher-student sex not always illegal in Minnesota

Lou Raguse, KARE 10:22 PM. CDT October 04, 2017

BURNSVILLE, Minn. – A county prosecutor is calling for a change in Minnesota law – to make it illegal for teachers to have sexual contact with high school students, regardless of their age.

Currently, it’s not a crime in Minnesota for a teacher to have sexual relations with a student who is at least 18 years old.

And recent cases reviewed in a KARE 11 investigation, raise questions about how Minnesota holds teachers accountable if they do have sex with their students.

In some cases, KARE 11 learned state education officials won’t even investigate.

“It just eats at you, because you put this trust in these people to protect them,” said the mother of one student.

Continue Reading: http://www.kare11.com/news/kare-11-investigates-teacher-student-sex-not-always-illegal-in-minnesota/480903753

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Media promotes stories that create societal outrage and the solution is always more legislation and initiatives, tougher laws, more law enforcement, more training, etc. None of these solutions make a meaningful difference in preventing sex offenses and really just appease our need to feel that we are protecting children and that our legislature is addressing the issue.

State laws regarding “consensual sex” (referred to generally as statutory rape laws) prohibit adult-child relationships but define childhood differently, depending upon the state.

What is the Minnesota Age of Consent?

The Minnesota Age of Consent is 16 years old. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 15 or younger in Minnesota are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.

Minnesota statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16, although it is raised to 18 when the offender is an authority figure. If the younger party is 13-15, their partners must be no more then 2 years older, and children under 13 may only consent to those less than 36 months older.

Age of consent laws are tied into other statues such as those of rape and sexually assaulting and raping somebody is already a crime.

A very wise saying. Those who expect a new law to magically make all that nasty bad behavior disappear fool themselves. You can change said behavior by several means, but making laws is not one of them.

“There is no simple fix to the devastating problem of sex abuse. Instead of politically popular measures that make no difference we need to turn our attention and resources to ways of addressing the epidemic of sex abuse that, while perhaps not as politically popular, will actually work so that more potential victims can be spared.” Deborah Jacobs, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.


Dakota County Discredited Again!

April 13, 2016 | UPDATED: 4 days ago

A former defense attorney jailed for weeks on the subsequently dropped charge that he set his girlfriend on fire — resulting in international news coverage, including a Taiwanese cartoon casting him as a maniac — has filed a federal lawsuit against the law enforcement agencies involved.

David John Gherity (Photo courtesy of Dakota County Sheriff's Office)
David John Gherity (Photo courtesy of Dakota County Sheriff’s Office)

The suit, filed in federal court in St. Paul last week on behalf of David J. Gherity, 62, and his then-girlfriend Joan Isabella, accuses Burnsville police and Dakota County Attorney’s Office of violating Gherity’s constitutional rights.

It also names two investigators who worked for the department during the 2014 case, along with chief Eric Gieseke and the Hennepin County Medical Center, where Isabella received treatment after the fire.

The suit alleges unlawful arrest and confinement and violation of the “protected liberty interest in his (Gherity’s) good name.” It further alleges the agencies hid evidence, manipulated witness statements and kept Gherity in jail knowing he was innocent.

Joseph E. Flynn, an attorney representing the city of Burnsville, responded, “We find the claims to be completely unfounded, and we will be addressing the specific claims with the actual facts in court.”

Flynn added that Gherity’s arrest was based on “compelling statements of the victim, forensic evaluation and interviews of numerous witnesses. The investigation was thorough, complete and timely, and we had probable cause to proceed with the arrest.”

The Dakota County attorney’s office declined comment.

In February 2014, firefighters were called to the Burnsville condominium where Gherity and Isabella lived, and found Isabella sitting at a table with burns on her head and face, neck and legs.

Gherity, 62, was charged in April 2014 in Dakota County District Court with first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree arson. He was arrested and held in jail from April 2 until May 30 of that year, according to the suit; charges against him were dropped on June 13.

Read More:http://www.twincities.com/2016/04/13/former-defense-attorney-sues-burnsville-police-dakota-county/