Genital mutilation as an enhanced penalty

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Within the state’s domestic-violence statutes is a list of offenses that qualify a person for an enhanced offense, potentially leading to a harsher sentence.

Sponsored by Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park), HF2149 would add to that list the crime of female genital mutilation against a family or household member.

“Fortunately, it’s rare, but is does occur,” Simon said.

Passed 130-0 by the House March 28, it now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) is the sponsor. The bill is based on a July 2011 case in Hopkins where a man held his wife against a wall by her chest and neck during an argument and then threw her to the floor.

Following the man’s arrest, the city’s prosecuting attorney reviewed the man’s criminal history to see if he had been previously convicted of a qualified domestic violence-related offense that would have allowed the case to start as a gross misdemeanor, rather than a misdemeanor.

Current qualified domestic violence-related offenses include: murder; violating an order for protection, harassment restraining order or no-contact order; stalking; domestic assault; or criminal sexual conduct. None of these was in the man’s past, but he had been convicted of female genital mutilation in 2000, for which he was on probation until 2001.