Skip to main content

Sexual assault victims not 'mentally incapacitated' if they voluntarily consume alcohol or drugs, MN Supreme Court rules

The decision has underscored efforts to change the loophole in state statute.

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a person is not “mentally incapacitated” if they voluntarily consume alcohol or drugs and are sexually assaulted.

The ruling means Francios Khalil, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman who was under the influence of alcohol and drugs in 2017, will be granted a new trial. The decision has also led to further calls to action to amend the state’s definition of mentally incapacitated.

In the 6-0 ruling, the Supreme Court said that if someone voluntarily consumes alcohol or drugs, they are not “mentally incapacitated” under state statute, which applies to people who are under the influence of substances "administered to that person without the person’s agreement."

Wednesday's ruling stems from a 2017 case in which Khalil allegedly drove a woman to his North Minneapolis home after she was turned away from a Dinkytown bar. The woman had consumed five shots and a prescription pill beforehand.

The woman reported that she passed out at Khalil’s house and awoke to him raping her.

Khalil was charged and found guilty of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a mentally incapacitated or physically helpless complainant.

But the Supreme Court’s ruling that the victim in this case could not be ruled mentally incapacitated and Khalil needs to be retried.

“It is certainly true that a commonsense understanding of the term mentally incapacitated could include a person who cannot exercise judgment sufficiently to express consent due to intoxication resulting from the voluntary consumption of alcohol,” the opinion reads.

“But here, we do not look at the ordinary, commonsense understanding of mentally incapacitated because the Legislature expressly defined the term in the general definitions section of Minnesota’s criminal sexual conduct statutes.”

The decision put renewed attention on a bill introduced earlier this year authored by Rep. Marion O'Neill, R-Maple Lake, and Rep. Kelly Moller, D-Shoreview, that would eliminate the voluntary consumption loophole.

"This ruling underscores the need to change our criminal sexual conduct laws to reflect the reality that all victims unable to consent need justice, not just those who have been forcibly intoxicated," O'Neill said in a statement. 

Next Up

fire truck

Explosion reported near Hastings; man airlifted to hospital

Authorities say the victim has serious injuries.

Screen Shot 2022-10-05 at 2.30.07 PM

School faces uncertain future after land sold to Catholic nonprofit

The school near Marine on St. Croix sits on land that's just been sold.

BikeCarSceneMpls

Boy suffers 'life-threatening' injuries in car-bike collision in Minneapolis

Police said the driver is cooperating with the investigation.

North Memorial Health Hospital

Man dies from gunshot wounds after Minneapolis shooting

The death marked the 69th homicide of the year in the city.

image

Gallery: Island cabin is one of northernmost homes for sale in MN

Want to buy one of the northernmost homes on the market in Minnesota?

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

Charges: Houston men robbed Edina bank of $110,000

A third suspect has not yet been identified.

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys coming to Minnesota for 2023 tour

The rock band hasn't gone on tour in the United States since 2019.

Related

court gavel

Minnesota Supreme Court upholds state's 'revenge porn' laws

The Court of Appeals had previously found the state's laws regarding nonconsensual sharing of explicit content to be unconstitutional.

court gavel

MN Supreme Court rules in favor of employment protections for unpaid interns, students

The case stemmed from a St. Mary's University doctoral student's experience at a practicum.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Minneapolis residents WILL vote on future of MPD following Supreme Court ruling

The Supreme Court decision reverses a previous action by a Hennepin County Judge.

Northern Metal Recycling

Northern Metal Recycling scores partial victory in court ruling

They can now resume operations at their Minneapolis plant.

2 Gopher wrestlers will not be charged for alleged sexual assault

The June 2019 incident has been under investigation for months.

Sheriff: Possibly 'additional victims' of serial sexual assault suspect

Authorities want to talk to anyone who's had contact with the suspect.

shorewood dock -edit

Supreme Court to rule on years-long saga over Lake Minnetonka dock

Four Shorewood residents put a dock on a undeveloped property they own, and the city said it violated city code. They disagreed.

camera

Federal court sides with MN couple who refuse to film same-sex weddings

The husband-and-wife videographers are attempting to sue the state.