Updated: February 22, 2021, 10:23 p.m.
Created: February 22, 2021, 8:58 pm
Right now, extortion for sex is not part of the Minnesota Penal Code. Rep. Kelly Moller, DFL Shoreview, has tabled a bill that would make it a crime for anyone charged and convicted of extorting sex from someone.
“There is nothing in the penal code that makes blackmail or extortion for sex a crime,” said Möller. “Legislation has spent nearly two years studying and reviewing the state’s criminal code of sexual conduct, and that is one of the standout things.”
Möller told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that there had been “a number of” reports of sexual extortion in the rental housing sector, but their proposed bill would go beyond housing issues.
“We have heard from some survivors that landlords often use sexual blackmail as a means of harassing vulnerable women,” said Möller. “Sometimes landlords threaten to evict a woman unless she has sex, or a landlord offers cheaper rent in exchange for sex. This puts these survivors in a dire position and it should be a crime to do so . “
Kaarin Long is an attorney for the Advocates for Human Rights group in Minnesota. She told KSTP that such a bill is needed because the only recourse for survivors is largely to take civil action against perpetrators.
“We have seen people use sexual blackmail on immigration, housing, employment and even confidentiality issues,” Long said.
The proposed law was passed by the House Judiciary Committee with the support of both parties.