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MN Reps Kelly Moller, Marion O'Neill to Receive The Advocates' Gold WATCH Award Wednesday

September 28, 2021

Media Advisory


Rosalyn Park

Women's Human Rights Program Director


Michele Garnett McKenzie

Deputy Director


For Immediate Release

September 28, 2021 (Minneapolis, MN)

The Advocates for Human Rights will recognize the work of the Minnesota State Representative Kelly Moller (42A, DFL), Representative Marion O'Neill (29B, R), and the steering committee of the state's Criminal Sexual Conduct Statutory Reform Working Group with its 2021 Gold WATCH Award.

Event Date:                     Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Event Time:                     5:30-7:30 pm (award presentation scheduled at 6:15 pm)

Event Location:              Minnehaha Regional Park Wabun D

4655 46th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55406

The 2021 Gold WATCH Award honors those responsible for comprehensive updates to the state's criminal sexual conduct laws passed this year. The changes resulted from more than two years' work by sexual assault survivors, advocates, attorneys, and law enforcement to draft much needed updates to Minnesota's laws. Minnesota Representatives Kelly Moller and Marion O'Neill co-authored new legislation based on the working group's recommendations and steadfastly worked to see it passed into law.

Driven by experiences of countless sexual assault survivors who were denied justice under Minnesota's outdated laws, the work took on new urgency in March after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in State v. Khalil. The decision set off a media firestorm when the court ruled that existing state law did not punish the sexual violation of a victim who became intoxicated after drinking voluntarily. The court held that, under the law in effect at that time, a crime was committed only if the intoxicant was administered without the victim's agreement.

The new laws, which took effect September 15, reflect today's expectations of the right to be free from sexual violence. More detail about the 2021 legislative changes can be found here.

About the Gold WATCH Award

The Advocates for Human Rights' WATCH Project seeks to make the justice system more effective and responsive in handling cases of violence against women and children, and to create a more informed and involved public. The Gold WATCH Award recognizes individuals or groups who move us closer to a judicial system that consistently protects the human rights of women and children. 

About The Advocates for Human Rights

The mission of The Advocates for Human Rights is to implement international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. By involving volunteers in research, education, and advocacy, we build broad constituencies in the United States and select global communities.