MN judge rules woman got drunk voluntarily so guy who raped her can’t be charged

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After a 20-year-old woman took five shots of vodka and a prescription pill, she said she was standing outside a Minneapolis bar in May 2017 when a man invited her and a friend to a party. She agreed but soon found out there was no gathering, she later testified.

She “blacked out” instead, waking up on a couch and found that the man she had just met was allegedly sexually assaulting her, according to court records.

Almost four years later, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously ruled this week that Francios Momolu Khalil, 24, cannot be found guilty of rape because the woman got drunk voluntarily beforehand.

Why does that matter? You can rape a woman if she’s drunk of her own volition?

The decision Wednesday overturned Khalil’s prior conviction of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, which had been upheld by an appeals court, and granted him the right to a new trial.

In Khalil’s case, state law says a person is only considered “mentally incapacitated” and incapable of consenting to sex if they are intoxicated on substances “administered to that person without the person’s agreement,” like if someone spikes a punch bowl at a party. In Khalil’s case, Justice Paul Thissen wrote in an opinion, no one disputes that the woman chose to become drunk.

“If the legislature’s intended meaning is clear from the text of the statute, we apply that meaning and not what we may wish the law was or what we think the law should be,” Thissen wrote.

It was a 6-to-0 decision.

The legislature is looking into bipartisan legislation to change this. Apparently, a majority of states have laws like this.

THE STORY

On the evening of the alleged assault, the woman went to a bar in Minneapolis’s Dinkytown neighborhood with a friend, but the bouncer refused to let her in because she was drunk, according to court records. That’s when Khalil and two other men allegedly approached the woman and her friend and invited them to a party.

Khalil drove the women to a house in northern Minneapolis, prosecutors allege. The friend later testified that the woman immediately lay down on the couch and fell asleep.

When the woman woke up and saw that Khalil was allegedly raping her, she told him she didn’t want to have sex, court records say.

“But you’re so hot and you turn me on,” he allegedly replied.

The woman then lost consciousness and woke up between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. with her shorts around her ankles, she testified. She and her friend left the house in a Lyft vehicle, and the woman went to a hospital to have a rape kit done later that day. She reported the case to Minneapolis police four days later, according to court records.


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