Juveniles charged with sex crimes in Minnesota

What can we expect when a juvenile is charged with a sex crime in Minnesota?  The same Criminal Sexual Conduct statutes the prosecutors use to charge adults are used to charge juveniles.

view from inside cell
view from inside cell
Juveniles are under 18 years old.  Traditional juvenile courts date back to a social reform of the late 19th Century.  Then other social justice movements also reformed abuses in child labor, slavery, women’s rights.  Before that, prosecutors charged children with crimes the same as adults, with similar consequences if convicted.
A key reform of the “juvenile court” for children accused of crimes was a shift away from punishment, towards rehabilitation.  Today, rehabilitation is still the primary goal of traditional juvenile court.

Anonymity is the opportunity to rehabilitate and become a full, productive member of society.  Juvenile court records on delinquency cases were non-public, private data, protected by law.

That has changed in recent decades.  Exceptions to closed juveniles’ records have developed in Minnesota.  Now, juvenile records are public for felonies for children 16 or older at the time of the alleged act.

This means that now Minnesota juvenile delinquency records are generally non-public for children under 16 years old.  This serves the public policy of giving juveniles a second chance to rehabilitate.  With anonymity, the reformed young person can live a normal life, without a public criminal record destroying their future.

A great injustice – juvenile sex crime charges

Sexting prosecutions are unfair and extreme
Sexting prosecutions are unfair and extreme

Due to Minnesota’s ill-conceived sex offender registration statute, any and all juveniles adjudicated delinquent of a sex crime must register as a sex offender.  This means that their adjudication (roughly equal to a conviction for an adult) for a sex offense is more public.  This includes 11 year-olds on up through 15 year-olds.

This law is even worse when we consider that most sex crimes in Minnesota are not common law rape crimes.  Instead, most involve consensual acts of a sexual nature where the crime is based upon an age difference.  This includes many Romeo and Juliet Syndrome cases.

A more recent trend is sexting.  You probably know that term refers to sending sexual images, usually depicting the sender, via text messaging.  Various phone apps, like Snapchat, can also be tools for sexting.  But when a person under-18 takes pornographic selfies, a prosecutor can charge them with child pornography, a felony sex crime.  Prosecutors can, and have charged other crimes related to sexting.  Young people are learning about the law.  But when a child faces a sexting charge; a juvenile sex crimes defense attorney can help.

Why Thomas C. Gallagher, Juvenile Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

Thomas Gallagher, Juvenile Sex Crime Charges Attorney
Thomas Gallagher, Juvenile Sex Crime Charges Attorney

The way to prevent the Registration problem begins with preventing adjudication (conviction) of your juvenile.  Minnesota sex crimes lawyer Thomas Gallagher has defended against claims like this since 1988, as well as serving clients as a Minnesota juvenile defense lawyer.

His formula for success is simple.  Help the client understand the legal threats and, yes, opportunities.  The client sets a goal for outcome of the case.  Then we lay out the path to get there.  Hard work, and perseverance pay off.  We can’t do it without the client.  Gallagher listens and understands.  He coaches and leads the way to the desired outcome.  Gallagher is an experienced guide who has done it before, and can do it again for you.

Gallagher has helped many juvenile clients charged with sex crimes avoid adjudication.  He welcomes calls to discuss representation in a free consultation.

Question?  Call Juvenile Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Thomas C. Gallagher at 612 333-1500