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Where does sex treatment fit into criminal law? Like it or not, Minnesota law severely punishes those who seek voluntary treatment.

If convicted of a sex crime, the court will hold a sentencing hearing.  These crimes range along a continuum from most serious to least.

For the more serious crimes, prison is a likely outcome.

To set expectations in a case, we look to the presumptive sentence under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines (or federal equivalent). And we look to any applicable mandatory minimum sentencing laws, as well as criminal history.

In cases where the client is looking at a presumptive prison sentence; we may be able to avoid prison if he is found to be “amenable to treatment.”

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Built into this term implicitly is that the offender is admitting the crime. So, he is not denying or is no longer denying it.  For offenders convicted of a sex crime with a presumptive prison commitment; an inpatient, residential sex offender treatment program might accept them.  And if so, that makes a person convicted of a sex crime, “amenable to treatment.”

The recidivism rate for people who successfully complete Minnesota sex offender treatment programs is substantially lower than those sent to prison.  That is why juries and judges often prefer probation and treatment over prison. 

Punishment versus Treatment

At first, most people want sex offenders to get both punishment and sex treatment.  There is an inevitable conflict, however.

If a person would like help with sex offender treatment they face a dilemma. And whether the help is for self, or for juvenile child, the dilemma is the same.

A Catch-22: if you seek voluntary sex offender treatment, you will be prosecuted.
Catch-22: if you seek voluntary sex offender treatment, they’ll prosecute you

In Minnesota we have a “mandatory reporting of child abuse” law. 

So any treatment provider who learns of an allegation of child abuse must report it to law enforcement

As a result, the therapist-client privilege and similar evidence privileges no longer exist in Minnesota, in this context.

So, a person who would seek help overcoming anti-social human sexuality issues; cannot do so if a child was ever involved, without inviting criminal prosecution.

And They Will Prosecute Juveniles

Juvenile Court prioritizes rehabilitation, over punishment. But there is no exception for juveniles facing sex crime charges.

And juveniles facing sex crimes charges have to register as predatory offenders, the same as adults if adjudicated.

So no safe harbor exists for juveniles seeking voluntary treatment for human sexuality issues. See our article: Romeo and Juliet Law: Minnesota Sex Crimes Based On Age.

Treatment During a Pending Case

Generally it is not a good idea to enter into treatment while a criminal charge is pending.

No safe harbor law for voluntary sex treatment
No safe harbor law for voluntary sex treatment

Even with no child involvement, prosecutors use medical records and treatment providers as prosecution evidence. So beware. Minnesota law currently prioritizes punishment over prevention.

Discuss any questions about these issues with an experienced sex crimes defense attorney.

Questions?  Call Minneapolis Sex Crime Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher at (612) 333-1500.

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