When Minnesota readers hear news of criminal charges related to sex crimes, the coverage is almost universally focused on the initial report of the arrest and charges that were filed. Unfortunately, that is where the story ends for many readers, unless the case ends in a particularly newsworthy sentence or verdict. What many people fail to realize is that a large number of sex crime charges are dropped before they reach trial, or end in an acquittal.
Unfortunately for the individual charged with a sex crime, the lack of a conviction does nothing to repair the damage done by the initial reporting of the matter. By the time a person is found to have not committed a crime, his or her photograph and name has been spread far and wide within print and online media. While some may remember that the individual was ultimately cleared of the crime, most will only remember the suspicion that fell in the first place.
Such may be the case for a Northfield man who was recently acquitted of charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was charged with taking indecent liberties with the 6-year-old daughter of a former girlfriend. However, when the child testified in court nearly two years after the incident was reported, the jury found it impossible to find it beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged crime had taken place. As a result, the jury found the man not guilty of both counts of criminal sexual conduct.
While this man has now been cleared of this heinous sex crime, it cannot be denied that he has suffered a great deal due to the widespread media coverage of the charges against him. He will now have to begin the process of rebuilding his life after his successful day in court, which may take a considerable length of time. The case serves as a reminder to all in Minnesota that not everyone charged with a serious crime is eventually found guilty.
Source: Faribault Daily News, "Northfield man acquitted of criminal sexual conduct", Camey Thibodeau, Sept. 22, 2014