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Sex Crimes – “Sexual or Aggressive Intent” – Defined

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Minnesota’s sex crimes require a specific intent that is undefined by statute. In order for the State to prove a defendant committed criminal sexual contact, it must show that the defendant committed the contact with “sexual or aggressive intent.” Without some facts to support this intent, any conviction or plea is infirm. So what does “sexual or aggressive intent” mean? Minnesota courts have come up with a hodge-podge of definitions, with some factual bases that are deemed to satisfy this intent element.

Intent is a subjective state of mind typically established only by reasonable inferences drawn from the totality of the circumstances. A defendant’s statement regarding his or her intent are not binding because, sometimes, the defendant’s demonstrated conduct is inconsistent with their statements. So, intent is determined from the totality of facts and circumstances, including the conduct and statements at the time of the act. Something to keep in mind – because it is “sexual OR aggressive intent”, proving either is sufficient.

“Sexual Intent” occurs when a defendant perceives him- or herself to be acting based on sexual desire or in pursuit of sexual gratification. It does not include accidental or an innocuous, non-sexual act. A showing of sexual intent does not require direct evidence of a defendant’s desires or gratification because a subjective sexual intent typically will be inferred from the nature of the conduct itself. Case law has held the following acts, in combination with the sexual contact, to satisfy this element: squeezing, stroking, pinching, threatening, repeated touching, forcing the victim to touch the offender’s intimate parts, or touching both over and under the victim’s clothing.

“Aggressive” has been held to mean “assertive, bold, and enterprising.” Courts have found that repeated sexual contact satisfies this definition. For example, courts find it hard to justify repeated acts as not being either sexually intended or, at a minimum, aggressive in nature.

When facing criminal sexual contact charges – whether it’s a felony or gross misdemeanor – you need an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows the nuance of the law and how to fight on your behalf. These are serious charges, with long-lasting consequences – both criminal consequences and collateral consequences, such as registration requirements, loss of job, etc. The North Star team understands what’s at stake and knows how to counsel you through these type of cases.

 

 



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