MN: What last week’s Supreme Court ruling actually said — and didn’t say — about sexual assault and drinking in Minnesota

[ – 4/1/21]

A 20-year-old woman was standing outside a Dinkytown bar in May 2017 when a man, along with his male cousin and another male friend, invited her and her friend to a party. They agreed, and the man drove them to a house. But when they arrived, there was no party.

After arriving at the house, the woman — who had been denied entrance from the bar earlier for being overly intoxicated — passed out on a couch. She later woke up to the man, Francois Monulu Khalil, allegedly raping her. Khalil was later arrested and convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a conviction that in Minnesota has a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and typically requires registry on a sex offender list.

Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Khalil’s case would be sent back to district court for a retrial because the original prosecution incorrectly used a statute in his case that defined the victim as “mentally incapacitated.”

The decision sparked outrage on social media, and the story was picked up by outlets around the country inferring that in Minnesota, someone cannot be raped if they voluntarily consumed alcohol before being sexually assaulted. But what Khalil did in this situation was still sexual assault, and still a crime under Minnesota law. The Supreme Court ordered a retrial under a different statute.

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So let me get this straight. If a woman gets drunk voluntarily and chooses to accompany a stranger which eventually leads to sex (which she may or may not have instigated), it’s still considered rape. She has no liability for her own actions if she regrets them when she sobers up, correct?

Wouldn’t the same logic also demand that if she drove while intoxicated and killed someone in a wreck, she should also be relieved of all liability? Why should she be allowed to avoid responsibility for some drunken acts but not others?

Last edited 3 years ago by Dustin