One month after the Minnesota House unanimously approved a repeal of the state's "voluntary relationship" exception in its criminal sexual conduct laws, the Senate is advancing identical legislation this week.
Lawmakers are racing to meet a Friday deadline to pass bills out of the committee process. On Monday, a repeal of the state's longstanding provision granting spouses and cohabitating partners certain exemptions from sex assault charges passed the Senate's Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee and will be considered in its Finance committee on Thursday.
Jenny Teeson, who twice testified in front of House committees earlier this session about being drugged and raped by her ex-husband, returned to the Capitol Monday to urge lawmakers to remove Minnesota's "voluntary relationship" statute. The exception prohibits prosecutions of spouses or cohabitating partners in cases of sexual penetration with someone who is "mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless."
Minnesota is one of about a dozen states that still provide some form of exemption from sex assault charges when the suspect and alleged victim are married.