Minnesota: Consent has no defense in child pornography charges

On Valentine’s Day 2014, two 19-year-old junior hockey players from Minnesota allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old girl in a hotel room following one of their games. According to TwinCities.com, the young men took a video of the encounter on a cellphone and then sent it to their peers as well as the young woman’s peers. They have each been charged with felony charges of possession and dissemination of child pornography as well as a felony charge of using a minor in a sexual performance.

The sex crime defense lawyer Minnesota the young men are using has stated that the teenage girl was the aggressor in the situation. However, the state does not allow for certain defenses such as this in sex crimes cases.

Inadmissible defenses

The defense attorney in the case has alleged that the young woman tried to have sex with various members teams in the U.S. Hockey League. Further, the young men’s lawyer made statements that the woman gave consent for the sexual activity that took place. Under federal and state laws, there are certain defenses that are inadmissible in sex crime cases involving a minor, such as the following:

  • Offering evidence that the alleged victim engaged in other sexual behavior
  • Offering evidence that the alleged victim consented to the act
  • Offering evidence that the defendant did not know the true age of the alleged victim

The prosecution in the case has requested that the courts seal certain affidavits and exhibits, stating that the defense seems to be leveraging a personal attack on the 15-year-old girl. A sex crime defense lawyer in Minnesota may employ other defenses, however, such as pointing out unfair arguments that the prosecution offers.

Possible consequences

According to Minnesota statute, there are different levels of child pornography crimes. Possession of any type of pornographic work involving a minor is considered a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 for a first offense. Disseminating the material, as the young men in this case allegedly did, is a felony that carries with it a prison term of up to seven years and fines of up to $10,000. The young men also face a charge of using a minor in a sexual performance, which has a maximum penalty of up to 10 years.

However, the state’s sentencing guidelines provide a lighter consequence for people with little or no criminal histories. Therefore, if convicted, the young men may only face between two and four years in prison as well as probation.

Anyone with questions regarding child pornography laws should consult with a sex crime defense lawyer in Minnesota.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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