County District Court File No. 55-CR-14-8517
Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Mark A.
Ostrem, Olmsted County Attorney, James Spencer, Assistant
County Attorney, Jennifer D. Plante, Assistant County
Attorney, Rochester, Minnesota (for respondent)
Keller, Lexie D. Stein, Keller Law Offices, Minneapolis,
Minnesota (for appellant)
Connolly, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.
Statutes sections 609.344, subdivision 1(b) (2014), and
609.345, subdivision 1(b) (2014), do not violate a
criminal-sexual-conduct defendant's substantive due
process or equal protection rights by limiting the
mistake-of-age defense only to defendants who are less than
120 months older than their child-victims.
mother of a 14-year-old boy called police after she found
44-year-old stranger Christopher Holloway naked in bed with
her son. The district court prohibited Holloway from raising
the mistake-of-age affirmative defense against the consequent
criminal-sexual-conduct charges because Minnesota law allows
the defense only for a defendant who is no more than 120
months older than his victim. On appeal from his convictions
of third-degree and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct,
Holloway challenges the constitutionality of this limitation,
arguing that it violates his substantive due process and
equal protection rights. We affirm his conviction because the
legislature was not required to make knowledge of the
child's age an element of statutory rape and the
120-month window is rationally related to the legitimate
objective of most vigorously protecting younger children from
Christopher Holloway met 14-year-old J.D. on a social-media
application designed to facilitate meetings between
homosexual men. The two began exchanging messages, and J.D.
told Holloway that he was 18 years old. They agreed to meet.
Holloway went to J.D.'s house in the middle of the night
in December 2014. He engaged sexually with J.D. The next
night Holloway went there again. He sexually penetrated J.D.
in his basement bedroom. J.D.'s mother heard noises and
walked in. She found Holloway naked in bed with her son and
called the police. Holloway fled. Police soon found and
state charged Holloway with criminal sexual conduct in the
third and fourth degrees. The statutes that define both
crimes permit a mistake-of-age affirmative defense only for a
defendant who, unlike Holloway, is no more than 120 months
older than the child. Minn. Stat. §§ 609.344, subd.
1(b), 609.345, subd. 1(b) (2014). Holloway argued to the
district court that this limitation in both statutes is
unconstitutional on substantive due process and equal
protection grounds. The district court held the statutes
found Holloway guilty of both offenses. Holloway appeals.
I. Did the district court abuse its discretion by failing to
include a jury instruction about the state's need to
prove that ...