A cult leader in Minnesota came under fire earlier this year when he was accused of abusing two girls in the community. According to Fox Twin Cities, the pastor fled the state but has been charged with 59 counts of sexual misconduct, including child molestation. The women accusing him of the behavior said that when they were 12 and 13 years old, they moved in with him and a number of other girls. They claim they were abused for a period of 10 years. A criminal defense attorney Minneapolis defendants can trust will be an essential part of this man’s case.
Law enforcement have not yet found the cult leader, who is allegedly living in Washington. When and if he is located, he will face charges in Minnesota, which come with harsh penalties.
The state defines different levels of sexual abuse that hinge on the defendant’s criminal background, the age of the victim and the exact act. As outlined by Minnesota statute, criminal charges of sexual abuse could be brought against someone who commits sexual misconduct and is one of the following:
- Responsible for the child’s care
- In a position of authority
- Has a significant relationship with the child
In most cases, criminal sexual charges will be regarded as a felony offense and can encompass items such as sexual assault, statutory rape, indecent exposure and child pornography. A criminal defense attorney Minneapolis residents can rely on can help defendants understand how their charges may fit into the state’s laws.
Penalties for child molestation
The sentencing guidelines for sexual misconduct vary depending on the charge. For example, a conviction of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree involves certain criteria surrounding someone who has engaged in sexual penetration with someone who is unwilling, or someone who has sexual contact with someone younger than 13. The sentence for such a crime includes prison time of up to 30 years and fines of up to $40,000.
One of the lesser charges, criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree, may be viewed as a gross misdemeanor and carry a sentence of one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.
Anyone found guilty of child molestation will have to join the sex offender registry, which can hinder employment and housing opportunities. There is a stigma attached to such convictions that can forever change someone’s life, affecting relationships and reputations. A criminal defense attorney Minneapolis defendants can trust will be able to explain the state’s laws and present evidence to have charges reduced or even dismissed. People who have been accused of child molestation should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.