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Minnesota Senate committee moves to criminalize groping



ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota Senate committee has approved a measure to criminalize groping someone’s buttocks.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a proposal Tuesday that would eliminate a more than 30-year-old exemption that allowed the behavior in the state’s sexual misconduct laws. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the exception was originally added because lawmakers thought criminal penalties were too severe.

MPR reports a push to eliminate the exemption began last year after women came forward with stories of sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo movement. Two legislators resigned from office in 2017 after being accused of repeated sexual advances on women.

Sen. Warren Limmer, a Republican from Maple Grove, is sponsoring the bill. It would make touching someone’s buttocks over their clothing, on purpose, fifth-degree criminal sexual misconduct.

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