No. Kicking a man in the testicles is not “sexual abuse,” as the term is used in Minn. Stat. 541.073 (“Actions for Damages Due to Sexual Abuse”) according to the Minnesota Court of Appeals in an unpublished decision this week. Therefore, the court held, Plaintiff Mark Schaefer’s claim against his past employer for the crotch kick he endured (by fellow employee Donovan Schultz) was subject to the two-year statute of limitation for battery, rather than the six-year term for “sexual abuse.”
The allegations in this employment decision are strange. Apparently striking one another in the testicles was a form of “play” for at a least a couple of workers at Cargill Kitchen Solutions, Inc.
The analysis in the decision of how a kick to the groin is NOT sexual abuse also strikes me as a little odd.
The Court of Appeals reasoned:
‘sexual contact’…is broadly defined as a nonconsensual act, committed with ‘sexual or aggressive intent,’ including the ‘touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the intimate parts.’ Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 11 (2014)….[the question then] turns on whether an aggressive kick to the genitals is ‘touching’ under the definition of ‘sexual contact.’…[and ‘touching’ has been defined as:] ‘to put the
hand, finger, or other part of the body on, so as to feel; to perceive by the sense of feeling.’
Because there is no evidence in the record that Schultz intended to feel or to perceive Schaefer’s intimate parts with his foot, the kick was not ‘touching,’ and in turn not ‘sexual contact,’ and in turn not ‘sexual abuse.’ The six-year statute of limitations of the delayed-discovery statute does not apply, and Schaefer’s claim is time-barred as it was brought more than two years after the battery.
Incidentally, I think the Court of Appeals decision stacked the deck by calling Minn. Stat. § 541.073 “the delayed discovery statute.” It is not clear where this name for the statute comes from. But it seems pretty obvious that Mr. Schaefer did not need an extension of the statute of limitations to give him time to discover that he’d been kicked in the groin.
However, the official name of the statute is the Child Victims Act, which sheds more light on the real purpose of the statute and equally suggests it is inappropriate for Mr. Schaefer’s circumstances.