So you wanna grab some butts, do ya? Well, you won’t be doing so in Minnesota. As of Thursday, the state had made such touchie-feelies illegal, dontcha know.
The Washington Post reports that Minnesota law has specifically excluded “intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the buttocks” from being considered a crime since 1988. Lawmakers finally decided to close the legal gropehole, making tushy tweaking a misdemeanor that can cost you a $3,000 fine and up to a year in jail, if enforced.
This strange loophole has been more or less ignored, but came up recently when a woman sent written testimony to state lawmakers, describing what sounds like a hellish day at her local gym. A man grabbed her buttocks, and the buttocks of four other woman at her fitness center. She personally reported him to the gym’s management and the police, and was told he couldn’t be charged for anything. The alleged offender eventually went boldly right into the women’s locker room, and was finally charged with disorderly conduct.
No one is entirely sure why the omission existed in the first place, but this is the most common and bizarre reasoning:
One explanation, they said, was that lawmakers at the time wanted to create leeway for football coaches who were worried they would be accused of crimes for giving players a motivational smack on the rear. Some in law enforcement had taken to calling it the “coach’s exemption,” they told the Pioneer Press.
Hey, how about coaches stop motivating people to run faster by touching their butts? Of course, making butt grabbing illegal doesn’t mean people will suddenly start reporting it. I, too, have had my butt grabbed by strange men on more than one occasion. Every single time was humiliating and bad, yet it’s hard to imagine going to the police about it. Folks likely didn’t know about the loophole because they’re never really tested it.
However, Minnesota is feeling the shift of the #MeToo movement much like the rest of America; their former Senator Al Franken stepped down from his position after being accused by multiple woman of groping, kissing, and other unwanted contact. He was replaced by Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who plans to run for the seat in a special election this year. Minnesota: changing fast.