Bill to close loophole in child torture laws heard in committee

Legislation to close a loophole in Minnesota’s criminal statutes dealing with torture was heard this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill was brought forward by a constituent whose son was abused and tortured by a trusted caregiver. The child was nonverbal and had physical disabilities that prevented them from being able to communicate what was happening. Thankfully the child’s parent was able to recognize other signs from the child that the abuse was happening, and the caregiver was removed. Unfortunately, once the abuse was discovered, there was no criminal charge to fit the facts of the case because Minnesota does not have a torture statute. The caregiver was eventually charged with a lesser crime, but the penalty was inadequate given the torture the child endured at the caregiver’s hand.

This legislation establishes a crime of child torture, in order to ensure Minnesota families won’t have to go through the same issue in the future. The bill is a direct reflection of the hard work of the parent of the child that had to endure this torture, and in their efforts to get the bill heard and passed into law.

The bill was recommended to pass and will be heard next in the Finance Committee. (SF 868)