Charges dismissed for man accused of ejaculating into coworker's coffee, victim wants law changed

Pat Maahs considers herself a sex-crime victim. The law does not.

"Standing right here at the corner of the desk, I was coming up from behind Mr. Lind, caught him in the act of leaving a puddle on my desk and part of that deposit went into my coffee cup," Maahs said.

Maahs' former co-worker, 34-year-old John Lind, admitted to ejaculating in her coffee and on her desk -- on multiple occasions in September. Maahs realizes she drank some of it. The New Brighton, Minn. hardware store employee was charged with criminal sexual conduct. Lind said he had ejaculated into her cup twice in the past 6 months, and admitted to 4 other occasions in which he ejaculated onto her desk and used her hair scrunchy to clean up the mess. Lind was charged with 5th-degree criminal sexual conduct and 5th-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct for the incidents, which were reported to New Brighton police on Aug. 26.

"I realize that the thoughts and the reactions and feelings I was going through are the same as someone who had been physically raped in a violent situation even," she said.

Ultimately, the judge dismissed the charges because Minnesota Statute 609.341, subd. 11, does not include contact with semen as sexual contact.

"First, I thought I was a victim because of the circumstances, what happened to me. Then, I was a victim because there was no law covering this to protect me," Maahs said.

Changing the law

Minnesota Statute 609.341, subd. 11, defines "sexual contact" to include the intentional touching with seminal fluid of sperm by the actor of the complainant's body or the clothing covering the complainant's body." 

Maahs is now an advocate for a bill that would change that, and once again, she has been met with disappointment. In a late night House discussion following a heated debate, lawmakers took a frequently jolly tone over a serious concern with the bill that would determine whether contact with saliva would count as sexual contact.

Representative Ron Erhardt (DFL-Edina) used an episode from "Friends" to make his point that saliva should be removed from the bill and said lawmakers did not know Maahs was watching from the gallery.

"In her particular instance, I can understand that. But we were casting a larger net wider than her situation, and the one item of the bodily fluids that I objected to, and others, was saliva," he said.

Bill author Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) agreed to consider taking saliva out of the bill. Maahs said her biggest concern now is getting the bill passed.

"I was disappointed at the lack of professionalism. I didn't believe that was what normally would happen. I gave the representatives that were there the benefit of the doubt because I realize it was a late session," Maahs said.

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